Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed said the Victorian State Budget was modest this year but was pleased to see funding available for mental health in schools.
Ms Sheed said the $200 million School Mental Health Fund would help Shepparton District schools to deliver programs, staff, and other support tailored to unique needs.
“This funding could fully fund programs such as the Neighbourhood Schools Project in our region if its application is successful,” Ms Sheed said.
“We welcome the $10.7 million for GOTAFE Goulburn Murray Trades Skills Centre redevelopment, which will accommodate more apprentices and students who will go on to fill skilled roles in our district.
“Along with six other regional sites, Shepparton will receive a Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership to help the professional development of our teachers, which will lead to higher educational outcomes for the district’s students.
“By ensuring we have the best-trained teachers, we will keep our young people engaged in school and improve their learning.
“The ongoing funding to help protect the Goulburn Valley’s fresh fruit production from Queensland Fruit Fly is welcome.
“A million dollars was given for a planning of a future upgrade of Verney Road School.
“I know this school is overcrowded and a redevelopment plan is long overdue.
“I was disappointed to see the Shepparton Bypass was not included in the budget, but the business case is still resting with the Federal Government.
“We are in urgent need of $6.25 million for an Early Parenting Centre at Goulburn Valley Health to offer new parents access to paediatric and mental health support, maternal and child health nurses, early parenting practitioners, family therapists, social workers and lactation consultants.
“This service was not funded in this year’s budget but I will continue to show the Victorian Government how new parents in our region are disadvantaged compared to their metropolitan counterparts and that the service needs funding as a matter of priority.
“This Shepparton-based centre would give regional families the support they need without travelling to Melbourne for services during the most crucial years of a child’s life.
“It takes time to understand the details in the budget and the way funding reaches us through the many programs that exist.”
Other funding supporting Shepparton residents:
$23 million (over four years) to continue existing court programs
This funding includes support for the Shepparton Drug Treatment Court, which helps parents reduce their alcohol and drug dependency so they can attempt to regain custody of their children.
$17.8 million (over four years) to support vulnerable families in Goulburn and Brimbank-Melton
Vulnerable families in Goulburn will be part of a trial where they are supported by a team of health practitioners, and justice and human service workers. This is aimed to improve their safety, health and wellbeing.
$60.6 million (over four years) to improve bus services
In this fund there is an allocation of funding for a specialist school service in Shepparton.