Education In Knox Not A Priority For Baillieu

The Baillieu Government’s failure to fund the new K-12 school in Boronia is a slap in the face to families in the area, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said today.

The refusal to fund the upgrade coincided with the Government’s decision to slash funding to the School Start Bonus for families across Knox.

Visiting Boronia today with Member for Monbulk James Merlino, Mr Andrews said it was time the Baillieu Government explained why it didn’t support the upgrade.

“The Baillieu Government’s refusal to provide funding for the next stage of the Boronia K-12 College shows they have no plan for education in the Knox community,” Mr Andrews said.

“In the 2010 budget, Labor allocated $10 million for the new K-12 College as part of the Knox Regeneration.

“Without the additional funding for stage two, the completion date of 2014 is looking very unlikely, leaving students and families who will benefit from these works in limbo.”

Mr Merlino said the project should be a high priority for the Baillieu Government.

“This is the most significant education project in this region of the city of Knox for generations and would provide important benefits for young people in Boronia,” Mr Merlino said.

“This delay will hurt both students and families and I call on the Baillieu Government to rethink its decision.”

Meanwhile, Mr Andrews said many families across Knox with children starting prep and year seven would miss out on $300 under the Baillieu Government’s plan to slash funding to the School Start Bonus.

“It’s disappointing that Mr Baillieu has made a choice to take the $300 one-off School Start Bonus away from about 100,000 families,” Mr Andrews said.

“The Baillieu Government’s slashing of the Bonus means only families eligible for the Education Maintenance Allowance will now receive the School Start Bonus.

“Mr Baillieu has described his Budget as caring but he’s certainly not delivering a caring budget for families in Knox.

“This heartless decision will increase pressure on families already finding it hard to get by.

“Families with both parents working, already struggling to pay the mortgage and grocery bills, are no longer going to be eligible for the $300 payment.

“The Coalition promised to help families with the cost of living, but they’ve already turned their back on parents in Knox.”

Mr Andrews said the Baillieu Government should immediately rethink its decision.

“Labor introduced the School Start Bonus in 2006 which has helped families pay for uniforms and text books. This decision makes it clear that supporting families is not a priority for the Baillieu Government,” he said.

“This one-off payment was designed to assist parents of children starting prep or Year 7, but Mr Baillieu has taken the axe to it.

“It provides parents with vital financial assistance to ensure their children get the best possible start to the school year as they begin either primary or secondary education.

“With the cost of living on the rise, the decision to strip many parents of $300 could not come at a worse time.

“Ripping money out of the pockets of working families makes a mockery of Mr Baillieu’s claims he would ease the cost of living for families in Knox.”

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