Here we go again: it’s time for the 2024 Victorian State Budget

The Budget will take place tomorrow, Tuesday May 7th and our Policy & Advocacy Manager, William, will be locked in a room with all of the important documents and a bunch of important people on the hunt for news and figures that will impact Victorian students. But what is the budget? And what do VicSRC and the students of Victoria want to see?


Like every year, VicSRC is there to understand its impact on student voice and education policy for the upcoming year. We've spoken to two of our 2023-2024 Executive Committee members, Grace (she/her) and Marley (he/him) as representatives of the about what Victorian students want prioritised this year. But first …


What is the Victorian State budget?

The 'budget' is an official statement released by a government once a year. This statement lists how the government chooses to spend their money, and what policies this money will help to shape.

Both the Federal (Australia-wide) and Victorian State budget will be released in May this year. The State budget comes out tomorrow, May 7th, and the Federal budget is next week on May 14th. The State budget is the go-to place to understand what the next year looks like for the Victorian education system.

So, to us at VicSRC, it's kind of a big deal.


What can we expect?

Currently, not much. What we do know if the government is aiming for what they call a 'surplus' which means spending less money than they take in through taxes and other income. Because of this, we are not expecting big new student-focused programs to be announced.

While we are also not expecting big cuts, it is still important to remember that no matter the outcome, VicSRC will continue to advocate loudly for student voice.

As Grace says, “[e]very student deserves the right to the best education possible, and every school having the funding they deserve means that each student can receive the education they deserve.”


What do we want?

For one, genuine investments in student voice.

"Increased funding for student voice initiatives is crucial to ensuring that schools have the resources and training needed to meaningfully engage students in decision-making processes." Marley says.

"This funding can be used to develop student leadership programs, as well as provide training for both students and school staff on effective student engagement strategies."

In 2023, VicSRC Congress found key concerns for Victorian students include inclusive and accessible education, greater investments for students, teachers and schools, as well as mental health and wellbeing. Genuine investments into student voice, will address these key concerns.

"By investing in student voice, schools can create not only an inclusive culture, but one where their students feel empowered, where students feel valued and have a genuine stake in shaping their educational experiences," Marley continues.

Secondly, Victorian students want greater investment to promote culturally safe schools.

"Additional funding is needed to ensure that schools have the resources and support necessary to create environments where all students feel understood, respected, and included. This funding can be used to provide professional development opportunities for teachers and staff, focusing on building cultural competence and understanding the diverse needs of the student body," says Executive Committee co-chair Marley.

Culturally safe environments is a new Child Safety Standard set by the Victorian government to ensure Aboriginal children and young people feel safe in their environments and thr government has provided guidance on how to implement this in schools. This is applied to all schools in the state. However, it is important to make sure there is adequate funding and tools provided to schools to implement this standard.

The broad overall concept of culturally safe schools was addressed in the feedback from students that led to our 2023 Congress report and informed the work we've been doing towards VicSRC's new Policy Platform. Culturally safe schools not only makes schools more accessible and inclusive for students of all backgrounds, but it is also an important investment in students, teachers, and schools.

"Education needs to be accessible and inclusive. We know that schools need to be culturally safe and we know that teachers can be underprepared to deal with discrimination," Grace says.

"Continuing to invest in equipping schools with cultural safety should be a top priority in this budget to make sure each student feels safe in every way possible".

Finally. students want an evaluation of existing programs that address the needs of students.

"Funding for program evaluation is essential to ensure that the spending of initial funds is being used effectively and efficiently to support student well-being, academic achievement, and educational outcomes," Marley says.

Existing programs include the School Mental Health Fund & Menu and Respectful Relationships.

"We need to keep the focus on mental health and keep investing into students’ well-being."

Grace notes that the state has pre-existing tools to measure what schools currently need: “Every school in Victoria has a School Resources Standard, this shows how much money each school should have. Not all schools are being funded to this standard which means lots of schools don’t have the resources they need.”

We know from our 2023 Congress report that some concerns, like mental health and wellbeing, have been ongoing and were exacerbated by the pandemic, so continued investment and evaluation is crucial to tackle the problem.

It is important to evaluate which “which existing initiatives are having the greatest impact and where additional support may be needed" Marley concludes.

VicSRC is eager to see what tomorrow's budget will bring to the lives of Victorian students, and hope that serious investments are made into student voice, teachers, and schools.

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Grace VicSRC 2024 Student Executive Advisory Committee Member

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Marley VicSRC 2024 Student Executive Advisory Committee Co-Chair

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VicSRC Staff Team