2024-25 Victorian State Budget a Mixed Bag for Aboriginal Communities and Families

May 7, 2024

VACCHO acknowledges the Victorian Government’s decision to prioritise families in the 2024-25 State Budget. However, VACCHO believes that despite some positives, today’s budget falls short of providing the concrete commitment needed to support Aboriginal organisations who champion Aboriginal culture to keep families strong.

While VACCHO appreciates the challenges of delivering a budget amid a fiscally challenging climate, the budget lacks the comprehensive range of support Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) required to address the social, emotional, physical, and cultural health and wellbeing of Aboriginal families, and Communities.

VACCHO’s 2024-25 Budget Submission focused on four critical projects to remove systematic barriers for Aboriginal health and wellbeing whilst calling on a boost for critical cultural services and infrastructure for ACCOs. Of the $54.5 million VACCHO requested in the submission, the Victorian Government has committed $15.3 million – just over a quarter of what was requested.

The Government has delivered a welcome injection towards self-determined, ethical Aboriginal research in Victoria, with funding of $4.5 million over four years to be allocated to commence the implementation of marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri: The Victorian Aboriginal Health, Medical and Wellbeing Research Accord.

VACCHO also welcomes the $10.8 million investment supporting Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands which will help support a number of projects through the next phase of delivery including scaling up the pilot of the Culture + Kinship Program, the successful strengths-based prevention initiative based on connections to Culture, Community, kinship and Country.

However, a key pillar of VACCHO’s submission was a call for urgent support for Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-Operative Ltd (DDACL) to acquire land and develop plans for facilities to deliver holistic models of care and replace rundown facilities.

VACCHO is deeply disappointed that despite serving as a vital lifeline for Aboriginal families, DDACL’s plea for assistance has been disregarded in this budget. Despite this setback, VACCHO will keep working tirelessly to advocate for investment to meet the dire infrastructure needs of not only the DDACL Community, but all Communities.

Other notable investments announced during today’s 2024-25 State Budget include –

  • $4 million to the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) for specialist paediatric medical and allied health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • $28.2 million will back Aboriginal‑led specialist family violence services and youth diversion services as well as dedicated in‑prison programs and supports.
  • $7.5 million for improving cancer outcomes including enabling the cancer sector to better respond to complex care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders and culturally diverse people.
  • $6.3 million to support the extension of the Yoorrook Justice Commission as the formal truth-telling process.

VACCHO Acting CEO Jim O’Shea appreciates the temperate investment into several of the critical projects VACCHO put forward but says the budget falls short of recognising the transformative health and wellbeing benefits ACCOs deliver for Communities.

“While I welcome the budget’s emphasis on families and the Government’s investment to meet some of VACCHO’s priorities, the reality is this budget is the equivalent of dipping your toes in the water compared to what is necessary to empower Aboriginal organisations to champion 65,000 years of Aboriginal culture and keep families strong and healthy.”

“VACCHO is particularly concerned by the Victorian Government’s decision not to allocate any additional funding to DDACL, who have been fighting tooth and nail for Communities for half a century. Consequently, the staunch and dedicated team at DDACL has been left to support one of the fastest growing Aboriginal populations in Australia in buildings that are falling apart.”

“Supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to do what they do best alleviates the demand on the already overstretched health system. There are also broader positive impacts to the other systems – education, justice, child protection, youth services and family and social services – with positive flow on impacts to the wider Victorian economy.”

VACCHO will deliver a comprehensive analysis of the 2024-25 Victorian Budget in the coming days.

Image credit: Australian Associated Press.

Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email communications@vaccho.org.au or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.