The 2019/2020 Victorian State Budget conveyed a strong message that the Labour Andrews’ Government was focused on equity, inclusiveness and planning for the future of the Education State.
The Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) welcomes the following initiatives promoting more equity in schools:
- Sanitary products $20.7 million over a 4 year period, in order to alleviate stresses on the cost of living for families and ensuring students can focus on their studies as well as promoting gender equality in schools
- Expansions of the school breakfast club $58 million over a 4 year period, to be implemented over 500 schools across the state. This will help to ensure all students have their basic needs met so they can focus on learning
- Dental health vans investing $322 million to roll-out free dental care in schools, again providing basic needs that can otherwise disrupt education and learning
We look forward to seeing the positive impact that these programs will have on students. The VicSRC also hope to see funding renewed for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund as this program is critical in terms of school equity.
The VicSRC is also encouraged to see further funding towards the ongoing implementation of programs focusing on inclusion including the Bully Stoppers Program, Safe Schools and the I CAN Network. The VicSRC looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Education and Training to ensure all programs and initiatives that are part of the government’s focus on inclusive and equitable schools, empower students as a core priority.
Forward thinking was another key area continued in this budget, in preparing for the population and economic growth, in particular to infrastructure and facilities:
- 100 new schools over eight years across metro, regional and rural areas
- 59 schools undergoing improvements and upgrades
- A specific focus on ensuring schools have the facilities needed to provide the promised added mental health support
We look forward to hearing further details around the pre-budget announcements, including:
- VCE collaboration fund – funds available for schools to gain access to all VCE classes across the state despite location or the size of the school, including options for face-to-face and online learning
- Mental health workers in schools
While the Budget is generally positive news for schools, the VicSRC is interested in continuing discussions with the government around priority areas that students have identified over the past couple of years:
- Further support for rural and regional students, especially regarding transportation and access to opportunities such as work experience and extra-curricular activities
- Strategic and ongoing programs tackling discrimination and mental illness in schools, including connections within the community
The VicSRC will be attending an event with the State Treasurer on Wednesday morning and will have the opportunity to ask questions about the budget.
Join the conversation on the forum.