The Youth Affairs Council Victoria today welcomed the Napthine government’s commitment of $1.2 billion in capital funding for new schools and school upgrades through 200+ projects around the state.

“All young Victorians should have access to safe, welcoming and well-appointed schools in, or near, their own local communities,” commented YACVic CEO Georgie Ferrari. “These capital improvements will help to achieve this.”

Also welcome was the Napthine government’s $20.9 million commitment to provide first-aid training to all Year 9 students.

“In their 2013 survey of young Victorians, Mission Australia found that two-thirds of them rated physical and mental health as very important or extremely important,” said Ms Ferrari. “First aid training helps to empower young people in this space.”

Other pledges by the Napthine government include $12 million to expand Student Leadership Campuses: three campuses which teach personal development and team-learning experiences for Year 9 students.

“It’s great for young people to build their leadership skills and enjoy activities outside of the traditional classroom,” said Ms Ferrari. “However, it’s important that young people can take part in extra-curricular activities and leadership in their regular school communities too.

“In 2012, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission released their report, Held Back, which found that students with disabilities still struggle to access an equal standard of schooling. Many students find themselves shut out of excursions, camps and after-school programs. Some are pushed into specialist schools when a supported placement in a mainstream school would be better for them; some schools do not have enough specialist support such as aides and speech therapists; and bullying is all too common.

“We hope that all candidates in the Victorian election are committed to implementing Held Back’s recommendations, to make sure all young Victorians can access a decent standard of schooling.”

For further comment contact Georgie Ferrari on 0411 484 428.