VCOSS Day of Action – 12 August

The Victorian Council of Social Services, supported by community services unions, held a Day of Action on Tuesday 12 August at Treasury Place to protest at moves by the Bracks Government to cut funding by demanding productivity trade-offs as a condition for Safety Net Award increases.

From the VCOSS flier:

The Bracks Labor Government has threatened cuts of $35 million dollars to essential community services such as child welfare, drug and alcohol services, disability organisations, housing and domestic violence services and family support.

These essential community services deliver support to about 1 in 4 Victorian families.

The non-government community sector is already severely strained and the proposed cuts will result in funding falling further behind cost increases.

This will mean there will be more children at risk, waiting lists will be longer for housing, desperately needed family counselling and disability services will be reduced, people will miss out on drug rehabilitation and the barriers to women leaving violent relationships will be further heightened.

As the funding cutbacks bite, shifts across community services will be cut back, jobs will be lost and community sector workers will be even more thinly stretched over the constantly increasing demand for their services. Non-government community services already struggle to attract and retain skilled staff. Further cuts will lead to enormous health and safety problems and affect the level of services provided.

Before the election, the Bracks Labor Government made a commitment to the public to continue to restore Victorian services. These service losses break Bracks’ commitment to Victorians.

Today’s rally and Day of Action calls on the Government to adequately fund community services.

[Note (19 Dec 12): Links here to reports with extracts from speeches by VCOSS executive officer Cath Smith, former Chief Justice John Fogarty, Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Leigh Hubbard and many others, on the websites of Trades Hall and VCOSS, have been removed as the relevant pages do not seem to have been archived.]

Wesley Mission with yellow and mauve balloons

Wesley Mission contingent arriving

Some of the disabled who came,  in wheelchairs

Some of Bracks’ targets

Part of the crowd in Treasury Place

Part of the crowd – plenty of union banners

Anglicare representatives with banner

Closeup of one contingent