Members Statement –
The recently released Brotherhood of St Laurence report labelled the wider Shepparton region as having the second-highest youth unemployment rate in Victoria.
While these figures have fluctuated over the years, it remains a serious concern to our local community that we have many young unemployed people.
There are many initiatives underway within our community to address disadvantage and try to tackle the problem of intergenerational unemployment.
I have spoken on the issue of educational disadvantage in rural areas a number of times since being in this place, pointing to the falling enrollment rates across our local secondary colleges and the fact that enrollments in the local private schools have increased significantly.
In early 2017 the Minister for Education announced there would be a Shepparton Education Plan, and this has now started and is underway. A site has been selected. Nine schools will be built on the site of the Shepparton High School. Each school will have 300 students in it. There will be a performing arts centre and STEM.
All these opportunities are now underway, but this will require continuing major commitment from the government. Only $20.5 million has been allocated so far.
So, Treasurer, while your own election promises are front of mind, I call on you to not forget the Shepparton Education Plan when preparing the forthcoming budget.
Funding to proceed with the plan and provide great opportunities for young people in our region must not fall off the radar and will be dependent upon your generous consideration.