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The Issues Monitor June 2015: Victoria

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Top issues facing Victoria

Treasurer Pallas delivered his first budget on May 5. In his speech Mr Pallas made it very clear that the Andrews government will lead for all Victorians. Leading for all Victorians is about enabling equality. That the Treasurer framed his first budget around equality appears to be well timed, and well aligned with Victorians’ current concerns and general disposition.

Victorians are more concerned about ‘Poverty’ than ever before. ‘Poverty’ is currently the tenth most important issue facing the state. When the ALP lost office in 2010 ‘Poverty’ was 14th. While we are certainly not representing ‘Poverty’ as a top issue facing our state, the context in which citizens’ concerns have increased is important.

That Victorians’ concerns around poverty have increased in concert with a heavy and ongoing reduction of the cash rate demonstrates that the expanding distance between rich and poor exists and is observed, and that those who participate in and benefit from the economy are so distinct from those who cannot and do not.

Secondly, in a recent survey we asked 12,000 Australians (including 3,500 Victorians) to tell us what makes somewhere a good place to live. When compared to the rest of Australia, Victorians placed a higher value on three things: public transport, education and equitable opportunity. The first two are relatively easy to explain: a value on public transport reflects our urbanity and education is one of our biggest exports. The value we place on equitable opportunity is more difficult to logicise, tricker to disaggregate and near impossible to place a metric against, to rationalise. It’s a feeling or, dare we say, the vibe.

We do not think we are alone in saying that placing a higher value on equitable opportunity will reflect positively on the state government, and on Victoria as a place to live, visit and conduct business. With their first budget behind them and the course set for a fairer state, this government now has three clear years to drive this agenda. Victorians will be watching on with interest.

Last updated July 2015