My matter is for the Treasurer.
It concerns some issues about which I’ve spoken many times previously here, and which remain extremely important.
Specifically, I would like to refer him to two SVA Consulting reports of both last year and this year, commissioned by the likes of Berry Street, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare and other leading child and family services agencies. These reports focus on the economic case for far greater early intervention in the child protection and out‑of‑home care systems in Victoria.
From having thoroughly scrutinised those reports, and from having met with a number of the people behind them, I can genuinely say that they’re both fantastic documents.
The first of the reports highlights, through a detailed cost‑benefit analysis, the billions of dollars of savings that can be ultimately achieved from funding evidence-based early intervention programs at key points in Victoria’s child protection and out-of-home care systems.
The second specifically analyses the impact of the COVID-19 response on the state of play in this area of policy.
Together, they brilliantly illuminate the wide-ranging and substantial economic benefits of targeted, long-term investment in early intervention as a means of reducing the number of children entering out-of-home care in Victoria.
I know the Minister for Child Protection, Minister Donnellan, has been very supportive of this work – and I commend him for it, including for bringing representatives of the relevant organisations directly to Cabinet late last year for discussion of their findings. I can only hope that others in the Government feel the same way.
Given all of that background, I am especially hoping, through this adjournment, to clarify what the Treasurer’s latest position on the thrust of the SVA Consulting recommendations might be.
I realise he’s in the midst of his Budget preparations – and so I don’t want to put him in the difficult position of necessarily having to either confirm or deny whether the SVA Consulting proposals will be specifically supported and funded in this upcoming Budget.
However, the action I would like to seek from him is at least an indication of the extent to which he supports the general principle, over the remainder of this term, of re-directing a significant portion of the money currently devoted to response and crisis funding in child protection into preventative spending.
For my part, I have long been very vocal in my support for primary prevention and early intervention measures – and I am very keen to learn if the Treasurer shares these views.