Posted on 30. Mar, 2011 in News

Shadow Minister for Education Rob Hulls today welcomed the Baillieu Government’s backflip on funding the $8 million Stage 2 of the Eastern Autism School – less than 24 hours after being urged to do so by Labor.

“This is a sensible decision from the Baillieu Government and we welcome this backflip,” Mr Hulls said.

“The Government needs to refrain from playing politics with the education of Victorian schoolchildren and this is a good start.

“They continue to make all sorts of misleading claims about Labor’s promise to this school in a bid to disguise the fact that they knew our $8 million pledge was the right thing to do.

“Now that they have decided to fund Labor’s commitment, there is no reason why they shouldn’t fund the rest of Labor’s Victorian Schools Plan.

“Our promises were based on the independent advice of the Education Department, unlike the Government, which has admitted that its promises are based on political considerations.

“Education Minister Martin Dixon gave the game away in December when he admitted to Parliament that school upgrades would be completed according to political need.

“My priority and this Government’s priority is to fulfil our election commitments. We are not here to fulfil Labor’s election commitments – we will fulfil ours as a priority. Our members and our candidates came up with fantastic projects that are worthy and I will fulfil those promises. We will than look at all the other schools.” Martin Dixon, Hansard, 21 December, 2010.


“Mr Dixon had no shame in admitting to Parliament that the Baillieu Government was happy to play politics with children’s education.”

Mr Hulls said the Government’s dithering and delays on the project meant the school’s current Year 6 students would be left in the lurch next year.

“Ted Baillieu and Martin Dixon need to make temporary arrangements to provide for these students next year,” Mr Hulls said.

“This whole episode has been one long embarrassment for the Government, after two local MPs were caught out verballing the school’s principal this week.

“It’s disingenuous of the Baillieu Government to feign commitment to the school just hours ahead of a public forum on the school’s funding tonight.

“Students and parents will welcome this backflip from the Government but Mr Dixon and local MPs Nick Wakeling and Heidi Victoria really do owe the school principal an apology for taking her out of context.”

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