The 2023-24 State Budget was handed down by the Treasurer, Tim Pallas on 23 May 2023. COTA Victoria and Senior Rights Victoria (SRV) have produced this briefing to inform older Victorians and organisations supporting them on:
- What initiatives of direct benefit to older Victorians have been prioritised in the 2023-24 Budget.
- How this investment aligns with priorities identified by COTA Victoria and key gaps needing further consideration.
In our 2023-24 pre-budget submission, we asked the Victorian Government to increase investment in a range of programs to help Victorians age well. Our specific asks were purposely limited and framed around the following four broad areas:
- Listen to older Victorians
- Meet the needs of Victorians affected by elder abuse
- Help the health system support older Victorians
- Ensure older people get the support they need
COTA Victoria is acutely aware that this Budget has been delivered in an environment of harsh financial and social pressure for older people and growing demand for crucial services. These pressures have only increased since we made our pre-Budget submission.
We also recognise the major fiscal challenges facing Victoria and the severe budget constraints for government at this time. While this means that hard choices need to be made, we must ensure that older Victorians doing it tough are not even more disadvantaged by the tightening of government expenditure.
In this context, the Budget provides a number of welcome funding announcements that will help older people, particularly those addressing healthcare, regional aged care, household energy cost relief, elder abuse, and transport infrastructure and community support programs (including COTA Victoria and SRV run programs).
Yet overall, the Budget does not provide the necessary range of responses for older Victorians struggling with the cost-of-living as well as longer term trends in ageing. This is not only a matter of crucial and immediate financial relief but also support that addresses the social and psychological effects of current daily life pressures.
We note the large task to be tackled through the Budget’s COVID debt reduction plan over the next 10 years. On the face of it, disadvantaged older Victorians are not directly exposed to key measures in this Plan. However, many will inevitably be impacted, including through public service job cuts and continuing reduced capacity to respond to demand growth for critical services.
COTA Victoria looks forward to seeing further detail on measures presented in the Budget. We want to ensure that the needs of older Victorians are well recognised in the planning and implementation of funded initiatives as well as the in impact of the debt reduction plan.
We also look forward to working with government to address priorities that are not funded at this stage but must remain on the agenda for future consideration.