The State Government has today handed down what the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) considers to be one of the most promising and hopeful budgets in recent years.

The 2024-25 state budget, released today by Treasurer Rita Saffioti, provides sizable funding for those in our community who are doing it toughest, through a range of funding initiatives and programs.

In addition to what had been announced in the days and weeks leading up to the release of the budget, WACOSS was pleased to see the inclusion of another $400 electricity credit for Western Australians.

While there is no silver bullet to solving the compounding crises that Western Australians have faced over the past two years, it is clear that the State Government has made addressing rental affordability, homelessness, domestic violence support and persistently high cost of living key priorities.

However, while today’s budget provides additional funding for a number of new services, it neglects to fund existing frontline services to maintain support levels and keep the doors open, in the face of rising award wages and operating costs.

That being said, WACOSS has today received a commitment from the State Government to review the current indexation rate for 2024-25, once the Fair Work Commission has published the outcomes of its Annual Wage Review.

WACOSS Chief Executive Officer Louise Giolitto said the budget measures would provide sorely needed support to many Western Australians.

“This budget is the best budget we have seen in many years in terms of new funding announcements for the communities sector. It is pleasing to see a government not just recognising the profound need but also providing support on cost of living, homelessness and domestic violence.

“While we are disappointed that much-needed changes to the state indexation policy for community services hasn’t been fixed in this budget, the State Government has given us some concessions with a commitment to review the indexation rate for 2024-25, once the awards have been reviewed.

“We acknowledge the necessary additional uplift to homelessness services, and we will continue to fight for genuinely sustainable funding for other community services, so we don’t stay locked into an endless cycle of underfunding in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

“We also would like to see more targeted relief for those low-income families most in need, like the rent relief program, and we look forward to seeing this support continue in the lead-up to the election next year.”

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