LIBERAL WELFARE OFFICER POLICY FALLS INTO FUNDING BLACK HOLE

LIBERAL WELFARE OFFICER POLICY FALLS INTO FUNDING BLACK HOLE

Posted on 03. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, News

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu’s promise of additional welfare officers in primary schools has fallen into a major funding black hole, Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said today.

Ms Pike said that while she welcomed Mr Baillieu’s support for welfare officers in schools he had made a $92 million costing error in his plan to increase the number of primary welfare officers from the current 256 to 406.

“Labor first introduced primary welfare officers in Victorian schools in 2003-04 but unfortunately the numbers for Mr Baillieu’s announcement simply don’t add up,” Ms Pike said.

“To fund 406 primary welfare officers over four years will cost closer to $126 million which leaves Mr Baillieu with a $92 million funding black hole.

“So the key question for Mr Baillieu is whether he is going to fund 150 or 406 welfare officers.

“This is why Mr Baillieu’s promises can’t be trusted until he submits his policies for costing by the independent Victorian Treasury.”

Ms Pike said a future Labor Government would continue to fund the existing 256 welfare officers who support 520 Victorian Government schools right across the state.

“Our Government has invested $60 million this year alone in the student support services program to provide more than 590 psychologists, guidance officers, social workers, visiting teachers and speech pathologists to students who have additional learning or wellbeing needs,” Ms Pike said.

“It is a comprehensive approach to student welfare for both primary and secondary schools.”.

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