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Millions of Australians set to get boost in welfare payments from Centrelink

Those on the age pension, disability support pension and carer payment will pocket an extra $19.60 for singles and $29.40 for couples combined each fortnight, come 20 March.

The maximum rate of the pension will go up to $1,116.30 for singles and $1,682.80 for couples each fortnight, when including the pension and energy supplements.

People on rent assistance, JobSeeker, single parenting payments and ABSTUDY will also receive an uptick in their payments.

An extra 77,000 parents are on a higher payment rate after eligibility was expanded to cover parents with a youngest child under 14 instead of eight in the last budget.

The single parenting payment will go up by $17.50 a fortnight.
Single JobSeeker recipients with no kids, and people over 22 on ABSTUDY, will get an extra $13.50 per fortnight.

Each member of a couple will get an additional $12.30 per fortnight.

Income and assets limits for the payments will also be increased in line with indexation on 20 March.

Indexation is an important measure to ensure welfare recipients have more money in their pockets, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said.
“Our number one priority is addressing inflation and cost of living pressures,” she said.

“Pension recipients are some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, many having worked all their lives contributing to our society or caring for a loved one.”

The complete list of payments increasing on 20 March 2024, including income and asset limits, can be found on the  Department of Social Services website

Let Us Learn report by Vic CCYP on education of children in OOHC

Let Us Learn report

A systematic enquiry into the educational experience of children and young people in out of home care conducted by the Vic. Commissioner for Children and Young People

The latest, and arguably one of the most important, reports released by the Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People was tabled in parliament this morning 16/11/23. It addresses the education of children and young people in care.

The investigation exposes some shameful data and shares some disturbing stories offered by children and young people. Listen to the children’s accounts of their experiences and then, as a Victorian citizen, worry!  Worry about the way we are inequitably educating Victoria’s most precious resource – all of it’s children and young people.

Some recommendations are both critical and urgent: such as:

Recommendation 7: Increase carer payments

That the Victorian Government increase the care allowance payments for kinship and foster carers.

Recommendation 8: Ensure equitable financial support for kinship and foster carers

That DFFH strengthen the care allowance assessment and payment process to ensure assessments are conducted thoroughly and in a timely way, and that equitable financial support is provided to kinship and foster carers.

Recommendation 9: Remove voluntary contributions and other education expenses for carers

That DE ensure that carers of students in out-of-home care are not requested to pay voluntary financial contributions and education-related expenses, including camps and excursions.

Recommendation 10: Provide carers with information and assistance to access flexible education-related funding

That DFFH:

  • ensure all carers and the children and young people in their care, particularly those in kinship care and in residential care settings, are provided with information about flexible funding available to cover education and extra-curricular activities
  • further streamline the process for seeking this funding.

Recommendation 11: Provide all students in out-of-home care with a free Victorian Student Travel Pass

That the Victorian Government provide all student aged children and young people in out-of-home care with a Victorian Student Travel Pass free of charge.

Summary of Yoorrook Justice Commission Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems

The second report of the Yoorrook Justice Commission focuses on the past and ongoing systemic injustice experienced by First Nations communities within Victoria’s child protection and criminal justice systems.

Structure of the report

The report is divided into seven parts:

Part A includes the Letter of Transmission, Chairperson’s foreword, and a brief introduction to the report’s methodology and terminology.

Part B includes an Executive Summary, list of recommendations and key facts.

Part C examines the historical foundations of the child protection and criminal justice systems. It explains how current injustices, including systemic racism and human and cultural rights violations created by these systems, are not just historical, but continue to persist today with critical impacts on First Peoples families and communities.

It then goes on to discuss matters for Treaty in relation to child protection and criminal justice. In particular, Yoorrook finds that the transformation necessary to end the harms that the child protection and criminal justice systems continue to inflict on First Peoples can only be addressed through self-determination involving the transfer of power, authority and resources to First Peoples via the treaty process.

Part C concludes by examining consistent themes in evidence to Yoorrook that span both the child protection and criminal justice systems, including accountability and transparency, cultural competence and responsivity, and compliance with cultural and human rights obligations. Whole of government recommendations to address these issues are made.

Part D examines critical issues in the child protection system. It begins with a short overview of some of the key policies, laws and human and cultural rights that are engaged by this system. It then examines the pathway into, through and beyond child protection with chapters on early help, child removal, out-of-home care, permanency and reunification. Findings on critical issues and recommendations for urgent action are made in each chapter.

Part E adopts a similar approach to the criminal justice system. Following a brief overview, each of the major parts of that system are considered: Victoria Police; the bail system; youth justice; courts, sentencing and classification of offences; and Victorian Prisons. Key systemic injustices are identified, findings made, and recommendations for urgent action put forward.

Part F considers other issues that have arisen during this stage of Yoorrook’s work, including legislative barriers to Yoorrook properly fulfilling its truth-telling mandate. Yoorrook outlines legal problems which mean that Yoorrook cannot guarantee that confidential information shared by First Peoples and others will be kept confidential once Yoorrook finishes its work. It also discusses barriers to members of the Stolen Generation and others who have been or are currently subject to child protection orders telling their truth. Recommendations to resolve these issues are made.

Part G contains appendices to the report, including a list of witnesses and a glossary. Further information relating to the child protection and criminal justice systems is also provided.

Click here to view/download the full summary of the Yoorrook report here.

A statement from Kinship Carers Victoria about the Victorian State budget

Thursday, 25 May 2023

It is no surprise to kinship carers that once again the acute needs and wounds they are afflicted with have been dressed with a few flimsy band aides. Not surprising because kinship carers are used to the neglect and abuse – but oh so distressing, and confirmation about the priorities of government and the near-contempt government demonstrates towards kinship carers.

It is not reasonable to expect kinship carers to be prepared to take their share of the pain attached to the dire financial circumstances they find themselves in. Kinship carers are amongst the poorest families in the state, so asking them to take their share of pain is out of all proportion and is inhumane.

Nearly 75% of children in out-of-home-care are being raised by kinship carers. If children must be removed from the care of their parents, placing them with other family members (kinship care) is the ideal solution for the extended family – and most definitely for the children concerned.

Kinship carers are performing miracles as they turn children away from a pathway leading to truncated life options to pathways leading to fulfilling lives where their aspirations can be met and they can become citizens of whom Victoria can be proud. Despite this level of productivity, which is far better than the outcomes of any government program we can think of, kinship carers are not compensated for the costs they incur, let alone being rewarded for achieving every performance measure that could be dreamt up and placed against them

There are a few strategies affecting kinship carers worth mentioning. Each of them conjures a picture, not of treasury officials worrying and searching for ways to support kinship carers, but of dffh searching through every cupboard and draw to find every bit of loose change they can scrape together to give kinship carers some cursory emergency first aide. It’s something at least, but not nearly enough!

So, what do kinship carers actually gain out of the budget?

  • A one-off $650 payment for statutory kinship carers (this money will put food on the table for a few weeks – no more than that).
  • Some kinship carers will benefit from the ongoing implementation of the targeted care packages to help children and young people to live in suitable care arrangements rather than residential care.
  • New kinship carers will benefit from a statewide program allowing young people to access health assessments as they enter statutory care within the child protection system.

These programs are welcome but do not enable kinship families in general to lift themselves out of poverty. If these programs were accompanied by an increase in their general entitlements, there would be some hope for them. Where is the increase to the basic financial support for kinship carers that has been requested year in and year out?

Given that the other political parties in Victoria have not demonstrated any deeper compassion for kinship carers, we are left to wonder where to from here? Beyond the daily torment of making ends meet, should kinship carers start to demonstrate to the world the ways in which Victoria breaches children’s rights as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – of which Australia is a signatory?

Anne L McLeish OAM


Further comment 

0499 969 234

To download a PDF of this press release, please click here.

Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 – A statement from GPV/KCV

Thursday, 27 April 2023

GPV/KCV welcomes the decision made by the Victorian Cabinet on Monday to lift the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12. As GPV/KCV has campaigned for this issue for some time, we are disappointed with the mystifying decision to wait another few years before lifting the age limit to 14.

However, equally mystifying and disappointing are the views being expressed suggesting that lifting the age of criminal responsibility will mean children are not held accountable. These views come from a narrow band of thinking about the most effective ways to hold children responsible for their actions. As a society we need to do so without creating a lifelong tag for children as criminals that may prevent them from becoming the citizens in adulthood we all would want.

It can only be hoped that in the interim the courts continue to do what they can to make use of the doli incapax provisions in law which describe the inability of children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility to form criminal intent. If a child is aged over 10 years but under 14, there is a common law presumption of doli incapax.

Anne McLeish OAM, Director GPV/KCV

It’s that time of year again – Budget time!

A statement from Anne McLeish, Director Kinship Carers Victoria

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

As we approach each and every budget, vulnerable families, particularly kinship families, hope against all hope that this will be the budget that brings them some relief. They have always been disappointed.

Kinship families provide well over 70% of the care for children who are removed from their parents.  The outcomes for children raised by their near kin, most often their grandparents, are astounding.  So many of them carry emotional burdens as well as mental or physical disabilities, and yet these children are raised to have high expectations and to get on with life. 

Kinship families not only work miracles for individual children. Kinship carers keep children out of institutions and raise them in ways that help them become productive citizens, of whom Victoria can be proud. Thus, kinship carers make an invaluable contribution to the health and wellbeing of our state as well as to the health and wellbeing of their own families.

Despite the outcomes of their tireless work, kinship carers have been constantly ignored in state budgets. Submissions from the community and from government departments calling for urgent increases to the payments awarded to kinship carers have been met with stony silence. 

The disdain for calls to increase funds available to cover the costs of raising children with multiple health needs has been particularly cruel.  Let us hope that in the next budget, despite the likelihood of it being a tough one, there is some relief for kinship care families. 

Also, of critical importance is the need for a well-resourced and trained child protection service, one that works in partnership with the kinship carers to ensure that our children are all safe and supported. Cuts to child protection services in recent years have caused kinship carers to feel abandoned by government, the community and, indeed, every voter who, in effect, allows government to render child protection of little importance. The incidence of carers not being able to reach anyone, even when an urgent medical matter arises, is rapidly increasing. It is not possible to reach someone when there is no one there! 

All evidence, including successive years of neglect as well as recent utterances about the severity of this forthcoming budget, points to the likelihood that kinship families and child protection in general will pay an inordinate price. Are we going to be forced to hold street stalls and sell tea towels to raise the funds to support our most vulnerable families and children?


Kinship Carers Victoria

(03) 9372 2422

[email protected]

Resources to support LGBTQIA+ students

Health and Emotional Wellbeing


QLife provides anonymous LGBTQIA+ peer support and referrals to people on a range of topics including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings and relationships. It is a free service delivered by LGBTI community members across Australia. Call QLife on 1800 184 527 or visit the website for webchat here. Open 3pm to midnight every day.


queerspace provides a non-judgemental, queer affirmative counselling service. queerspace staff come from one or more of the LGBTIQ+ communities so understand first-hand the importance of chosen family, supportive communities and building resilience.

  • Contact queerspace on 03 9663 6733 or visit the website here.

Rainbow Door

Rainbow door is a free helpline offering information, support and referrals to LGBTQIA+ Victorians and their friends and family. Rainbow Door will work to support people experiencing suicidal thoughts, family and intimate partner violence and mental health.  Rainbow Door also offers multi language interpreting and Auslan services. Call 1800 729 367, text 0480 017 246 email [email protected]u

Thorne Harbour Health

Thorne Harbour Health works to achieve a healthy future for sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities. As a community-controlled organisation it is governed by members and works for people living with HIV as well as our sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities.Visit the website for information on how to access a range of general and mental health services.

Education and Resources

Ygender is a peer led social support and advocacy group for trans/gender diverse young people. YGender run events for trans and gender diverse young people, create amazing resources and workshops and much more. Visit their website here.

Inclusive Practice Guide for Homelessness and Housing Sectors in Australia

This guide outlines inclusive practice for agencies in Australian homelessness and housing sectors working with clients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer or questioning (LGBTIQ+) in response to evidence that LGBTIQ+ people are at higher risk of homelessness and have specific needs to address. 

Student Voice Hub (SVH) – LGBTQI+ Resources
Vic SRC together with Minus18 have pulled together a wealth of resources to support the wellbeing and inclusion of LGBTQI+ students in Victorian schools.  Access these resources here

The Victorian Pride Centre 
The Victorian Pride Centre is home to a range of LGBTIQ+ focused organisations, along with businesses who support the LGBTIQ+ community. Visit their website to access a range of information and services from social connection, to mental health and wellbeing, to education and resources. 

Resources for schools and universities via Minus18
Minus18’s website has a wealth of resources available to support and champion young LGBTQIA+ Australians. You can filter the resource page based on your context, including schools and unis, workplaces and more.

  •  Visit the website here.

Zoe Belle Gender Collective (ZBGC)

ZBGC is a trans and gender diverse led advocacy organisation based in Victoria that works to improve the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse (TGD). ZBGC have a range of fantastic resources, including for trans and gender diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ZBGC recently ran training for staff at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Wellbeing, and a number of the resources they provided attendees form part of this newsletter.  Visit the website here.

Families like mine
Families like mine is a guide offering practical advice to families of young gender diverse people, same-sex attracted and bisexual people, and those who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity to improve family’s capacity to have a positive impact on their LGBTQIA+ children.  Access it here.

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