Budget ignores the state of abandoned regional schools

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Claims that the 2017-18 Victorian Budget provides “first-rate schools” to “every student” is an insult to the hundreds of students in places like Seymour and Benalla, where successive governments have broken decade-old promises to provide much needed funding for new facilities, according to Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young.

“Even more insulting is the fact these students and their families watched with heart-ache as the Government closed their much-loved primary campuses and ‘merged’ them to form larger a P-12 campus,” said the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party member. “The Government lured these communities into accepting their fate by the false promises of ‘21st Century’ educational learning centres, which have sat on the drawing boards since 2007.”

“In Seymour, the former classrooms of one of two primary schools sit vacant, boarded up and vandalised, as a constant reminder of the broken promises,” Mr Young said. “The Government closed this site in 2011 to move students to a new P-4 learning area on the merged college campus, amid promises modern classrooms would be built for students as they advanced. Instead, the Preps of 2011 have entered their middle school classes in portable buildings. Their high school classes are likely to be held in buildings more than 50 years old and deemed substandard.

“In Benalla, where primary and secondary campuses began to merge in 2013, there remain classrooms infested with mould and toilet blocks closed because they are no longer fit for use.

“I find it appalling that Minister for Education James Merlino can gleefully proclaim on social media that the budget makes sure ‘every student has access to a first-rate school with the best and brightest teachers in Australia’ while again ignoring students in places like Seymour and Benalla.

“Considering the Treasurer also boasted a budget surplus, it appears Benalla and Seymour have been abandoned by the Andrews Government, as it refuses to include these students in its so-called Education State.”

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