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Friday, 30 November 2012

LIBERAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT ADMITS MISTAKES WITH CONVEYANCE ALLOWANCE IN REGIONAL VICTORIA

The Baillieu Ryan Government has buckled under pressure from the community, the State Opposition and even Government members, and will re-assess its savage cut to the conveyance allowance.

Following questions raised in Parliament by many Labor Opposition Members to the Minister for Education Martin Dixon on his cruel cuts to the conveyance allowance, Ms Edwards said Mr Dixon caved in to pressure, admitting he would be making an announcement regarding the conveyance allowance, backing down on some aspects of this harsh cut.

The conveyance allowance has been used by schools to subsidise school buses to ensure there are transport options available to all students.

Recently Mr Dixon outlined that the allowance would be stripped away from tens of thousands of Victorian students, in a move that was met with outrage in the community.

Communities in regional and remote areas are the ones that have been hit the hardest by these cuts.

“The Minister has back flipped on his earlier decisions and today announced he would succumb to pressure and reassess the changes to the conveyance allowance,” Ms Edwards said.

“The proposed changes to the conveyance allowance were always going to make it harder for many families in regional and rural areas to simply get their children to school.

In Parliament yesterday, Mr Dixon admitted for the first time that the cuts were having an impact on families across Victoria, particularly in regional towns and cities.

“What the Minister failed to guarantee, however, is that no families or schools will be worse off or out of pocket as a result of the next set of changes."

Shadow Labor Minister for Education, James Merlino said the Baillieu Ryan Government should roll back their cuts to the conveyance allowance so that:

  • No child who currently receives the allowance will be worse off;
  • Families in rural and regional areas will not be worse off;
  • The ecumenical schools are recognised and classified accordingly so as not to discriminate against their students; and
  • Families in areas with little or no public transport will not be worse off.

Ms Edwards said news that the Minister has finally decided to reassess the cuts to the conveyance allowance was a significant win for the community, but Mr Dixon should not waste any more time.

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