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Sunday, 26 November 2017

GIVING LOCAL KIDS WITH DISABILITY THE CHANCE TO SUCCEED

The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring local kids with disabilities and their families get the support they need, under a new $61 million package to make our education system fairer.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan today announced Kalianna School would receive dedicated funds to develop and run an after school hours care and school holiday program.

This extended support will give local families much needed respite, and make it easier for parents and carers to go back to work or increase their hours.

Normally, responsibility for funding this support would belong to the Turnbull Liberal Government. But in the absence of Federal leadership, the demonstration program will also be used to build evidence and encourage the Prime Minister to step up and meet his responsibilities.

The announcement comes following the Premier’s visit to Kalianna earlier this year to announce a $10 million rebuild, as well as his roundtable discussions with local parents and teachers of students with disabilities.

The package also includes $42 million in initiatives to make sure the 90,000 students in Victorian schools with disabilities or additional needs don’t get left behind. This includes:

  • $12 million to buy specialised equipment for students – such as braille translation software, e-book and e-text readers, talking and accessibility software.
  • $6.5 million for scholarships for teachers and other school staff, including 145 scholarships for postgraduate studies in special education and 60 scholarships to undertake the Master of Education (Applied Behaviour Analysis) at Monash University
  • $7.5 million to ensure all government schools are taking an inclusive approach to students at every level.

The funding package will also invest $19 million in early childhood education initiatives. The funding includes:

  • $6.4 million to upgrade ageing early childhood infrastructure – including playgrounds – across the state and provide grants to help kinders provide safe and inclusive environments
  • $3.2 million for the Kindergarten Inclusion Support program to give 225 more children with disabilities or developmental delay access to state-funded kinder in 2018 and 2019.

The former chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry into services for people with autism, Ms Edwards said the package would also include $1.1 million to help maternal and child health nurses screen children for autism. 

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“It can’t be understated: by giving these local families more support and more flexibility, this will change lives.”

"Across the state, this package will make our schools and kinders fairer and more inclusive for every child.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“The staff and school community at Kalianna do an amazing job. Now it’s time for the Prime Minister to do his.”

“From new swing sets to the latest in computer software, this will help make sure no child is left behind.”

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