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Victoria promises minimum wage increase for charity and community service workers

The Victorian government has committed $13.8 million to help charities and community service agencies increase the minimum wage for workers

Charities and community service agencies will receive a $13.8 million funding boost from the Victorian government to increase the minimum wage for workers.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the funding for the coming year – and a further $45 million if the Turnbull government is re-elected – during the Victorian Council of Social Service’s Good Life Summit in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The Fair Work Commission recently announced the minimum wage should increase by 3.3 per cent, however, community service workers only received two per cent.

“So many of your organisations, perhaps indeed all of them, operate on very tight budgets and never ever want to be put into the difficult situation where you have to choose between the service you provide and the staff that you employ,” Andrews said.

“That’s not a choice that you should have to make, that’s why I can tell you that we will fully cover the shortfall between the 2017 order and the funding that you have been provided to this point.”

Charities and non-government organisations that provide community services will share in the $13.8 million from July to cover the 2018-19 financial year.

Andrews also promised the government would continue to fill the gap over the next four years if re-elected in November.

During the Good Life Summit, community, political and business sectors were bought together to debate policies on family violence, income, youth justice and health.

Opposition Leader, Matthew Guy, announced the “HomeStretch” program during the event. The program will fund 75 places over two years for young people transitioning from state care and to help with their education, employment and psychological goals.

An evaluation will be built into the program to ensure it is effective. Guy added: “We will provide more support for Victoria’s most vulnerable kids.

“I want to break the cycle of current despair that young vulnerable people experience and this initiative will give those young people hope for the future.”

Greens Leader, Samantha Ratman, also announced a new policy her party is implanting. The Greens intend to build 40,000 new public housing dwellings over six years from January 1 and stopping the sale of public estates.

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