Minister claims to listen but thousands of families still miss out

The Baillieu Government has made an embarrassing backdown on the shambles that is its handling of the school conveyance allowance, but the new changes will still leave thousands of families worse off, Shadow Minister for Education James Merlino said today.

Bowing to significant pressure from the Labor Opposition, the community, and even his own party room, Education Minister Martin Dixon announced that the government was rolling back the changes to the conveyance allowance.

The Minister’s partial backflip means the conveyance allowance would no longer be means tested, however Mr Merlino said the changes meant the situation would still apply to schools acrossVictoria.

In a show of complete incompetence, given the government has been working on changes to the conveyance allowance since May and the cuts were announced less than a month ago, the Minister has come into Parliament under extreme pressure to admit that he botched the changes to the program.

“Mr Dixon finally backed down and made changes to his cuts to conveyance allowance, but it is still creating a situation where thousands of families will be significantly out of pocket,” Mr Merlino said.

“The Minister failed to recognise that the boundary changes are hurting families all over the outer suburbs.

“His refusal to change the grandfathering arrangements to the allowance will still create farcical situations where if a child changes school campus or even if that family moves house, the allowance will be cut.

The Minister has also failed to address the changes to denominational definitions which continues to cause major concerns for those schools affected.

“The Minister has completely mishandled this situation. Only a month ago he made the initial changes to allowance and since then he has refused to acknowledge the financial and physical inconvenience it has created.

“Now, Mr Dixon’s rushed inept attempt to fix the problems has failed, with thousands of families still much worse off.

“This is another example of the Baillieu Government either doing nothing or getting it entirely wrong.”