The Dan Andrews’ government unveiled  Victoria’s much-awaited budget on Tuesday. Within the budget it has earmarked over $3 million for the LGBTQI community. The budget for the community, the government said, was part of the “determination to achieve a more equal and inclusive future for every Victorian.”

Treasurer Tim Pallas announced that the budget would provide $1 million in funding for the LGBTQI Community Grants Program. With 30% of the grants going to rural and regional areas. Another $2 million will go to LGBTQI community organisations to help organisations and people recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This budget is about putting people first – including LGBTQI Victorians,” Ro Allen, Commissioner for LGBTQI+ Communities told Star Observer. “The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been challenging for so many people in LGBTQI communities, and I’m pleased that this budget includes investments in initiatives which will support LGBTQI folks and organisations to recover from this difficult period, helping us to continue our work for equality.”

The government has set aside $13 million to implement the Gender Equality Act 2020, which will go towards setting up the office of the new Gender Equality Commissioner and a reporting platform. $38 million will go towards the  Government’s Respectful Relationships program in Victorian schools.

The 2020 Federal budget was panned for being “gender inequal.” This State budget seems to remedy that with key investment in initiatives for women in Victoria.

“Women have borne the brunt of this pandemic, highlighting inequalities that existed long before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Gabrielle Willams, Minister for Women, while presenting the Gender Equality Budget statement. “As we begin to recover, we have an opportunity – a responsibility – to redress embedded inequalities that have existed for too long, and create a fairer future. We also want to ensure that our policies are inclusive and acknowledge the experiences of all Victorian women, including Aboriginal women, culturally diverse women, LGBTQI women, women with disability, young women, and older women.”

 A significant announcement in the budget was the raising the age of support for young people in foster care to 21 from January 1, 2021. The budget has assigned $75 million for this initiative, that will help LGBTQI children in foster care to remain at home for longer.

We look at some of the budget announcements:

  • A budget for all Victorians
  • 200,000 jobs by 2022 and 400,000 by 2025.
  • Tax credit for Victorian businesses who create jobs.
  • 50% stamp duty waiver for newly built or off the plan homes valued up to $1 million and 25% for existing houses until June 30, 2021.
  • $500 million Victorian Homebuyer Fund
  • $1.46 billion to redevelop the Southbank Arts precinct, including for a new branch of the National Gallery of Victoria – NGV Contemporary.
  • $2 billion to build new hospitals and upgrade existing ones and $3 billion for school upgrades
  • $1.6 billion for clean energy.
  • $30 million for vouchers to boost tourism in regional Victoria.
  • New public housing measures that include 9,000 new homes and 2,900 affordable homes for low income families.
  • $10 billion investment for the transport sector.
  • $869 million to support mental health

A budget for women 

  • $631 million for Free TAFE and subsidised training places, and an additional $155 million to provide access to those most impacted by the pandemic, with a focus on getting more women back into the workforce.
  • $619 million for a new Jobs for Victoria initiative to Victorians looking for work, including $150 million to support 6,900 women into job placements, of which $50 million is for women over 45.
  • $238 million for family violence prevention and response measures.
  • $170 million to support women’s workforce participation, by providing free kindergarten in eligible services in 2021
  • $82 million to increase the availability of outside school hours care.
  • $33 million to expand opportunities for apprentices and trainees through a flagship Big Build training pathway, with a particular focus on supporting more women into the construction sector
  • $30 million for a range of gender equality initiatives, including implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020
  • $17 million to help women find new opportunities in sectors such as transport, construction and startup innovation.

The LGBTQI budget

  • $1 million for LGBTQI Community Grants Program.
  • $2 million for LGBTQI Community Organisations.

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