Posted on 02. Nov, 2011 in News

A successful support program for students with autism at Moomba Park Primary School is under threat as the Baillieu Government refuses to continue funding it, Shadow Minister for Education, Rob
Hulls, said today.

Mr Hulls and Member for Thomastown, Bronwyn Halfpenny today met concerned parents and students at the school to discuss the success of the Innovative Developments in the Education of Children with Autism (IDEA) Program and concerns about future funding.

“The IDEA Program has been a real success story and has changed the lives of these students and their families, but the Baillieu Government’s callous $481 million education cuts are threatening the
future delivery of this program,” Mr Hulls said.

“The IDEA Program works and is actually less expensive to run than other autism-specialist programs. Unfortunately, Mr Baillieu and Education Minister Martin Dixon have already shown successful
education programs will be axed under their government.

“The real victims of Mr Baillieu’s budget cuts are the children and their families.

“The last Labor Government was committed to the future of the IDEA Program and allocated $350,000 to build new state-of-the-art classrooms for these students.

“The Baillieu Government is content to let this new building go ahead, but is refusing to fund the program that helps these students directly.”

Mr Hulls said the IDEA Program was successful for children with autism because it focussed on social, behavioural and academic teaching.

“If the IDEA Program is axed, it is far from certain whether there will be places available at other autism schools to accommodate these students and that is why the Baillieu Government must commit
to the program,” Mr Hulls said.

Ms Halfpenny said it was outrageous that parents had been forced to campaign just to receive care and support for their children.

“Parents and students have been forced onto the steps of Parliament and to post videos on YouTube to get this Government’s attention,” Ms Halfpenny said.

“Mr Baillieu and Mr Dixon are still not listening or committed to provide basic services to young people and families in real need.

“The Baillieu Government’s education policy is a mess.

“Mr Dixon said his $481m education cuts wouldn’t affect services, but this is just another example of frontline services and students being disadvantaged by the Baillieu Government.”


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