By Robert Lowell

Victoria led the way in which in Australia with the belief of 'localising human services'. Victorian neighborhood govt steadily grew to become the simplest constitution for providing, coordinating, and making plans future health, housing, cultural, leisure, and social providers. in spite of the fact that, neighborhood govt has no longer been capable of supply a strong, calmly unfold human providers' system.

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Not for the first time in Victoria, the inquiry also recommended reform of municipal boundaries, to create stronger units of local government capable of undertaking expanded responsibilities. An indication of the growing recognition and importance of local government human services was a chapter, set aside in the Inquiry’s report, on health and welfare services. ’28 While these recommendations provided early guidelines, on which all levels of government could move towards the equitable funding of municipal human services in Victoria, successive governments have never fully implemented them.

The SWD had only one welfare officer, and one probation and parole officer, to cover the whole of Gippsland, before its regionalisation program established two regional, and a number of sub-regional, offices in the 1970s. In these circumstances, it was not uncommon for municipal welfare services to provide interim services or negotiate client issues by telephone in lieu of accessible central government services. For example, a destitute client in West Gippsland could not afford to travel over 100 km.

29 The few initiatives which did surface, like the Australian Assistance Plan (AAP), mentioned in the next chapter, lacked adequate research, were often not sustained and failed to cement a primary role for local government in the human services. From the middle of the 1960s, a movement towards the decentralisation of human services began across both central government and non-government sectors. In Victoria, for example, the Federal departments of Social Security, Employment and Immigration, and the State departments of Social Welfare, Mental Health and Housing, began to establish additional suburban and rural offices as a means of improving their access.

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