Members Statement – Many in this place will have heard me advocate for better educational outcomes for young people in regional areas and in particular for those living within the Greater Shepparton region. There is an abundance of evidence showing that students in regional areas have poorer outcomes than those in metropolitan areas. I was shocked to learn after being elected that four of our secondary colleges in Greater Shepparton had outcomes well below the Victorian state average and are continuing to decline. In addition to this, three of our four secondary colleges had experienced seriously declining enrolments over many years. This trend had been clearly evident for a long time. But what advocacy was there from any government over those years or indeed from our own local Liberal and National Party representatives to raise this matter? Where was the advocacy on behalf of our young people to help them achieve and obtain access to the very best educational opportunities? There was no such advocacy.
My goal at all times had been to seek that all children and young people have a positive future and that our families, schools and community will help them get there through learning and caring. Never before have we had the prospect of such a significant investment in the future of education provision for our young people. It will not be easy. There will be some pain with such transformative change, but I believe the Shepparton education plan is a project that will ensure our children’s future. We all want our young people to have the chance to get the very best education possible, and I ask all our families and our community to continue to support achieving this outcome.