Wednesday 16 February 2022
Mildura students will not lose another second of critical time in the classroom under an elected Liberals and Nationals Government’s new Face-to-Face Learning Guarantee, announced today.
Students in Mildura were in and out of the classroom last year, as the Labor Government’s snap lockdowns caused mass disruptions to learning which will leave long-lasting effects on the youngest Victorians.
In Mildura to announce the Guarantee, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said the commitment would provide much-needed certainty to parents and students as Victoria recovers and rebuilds.
“Disrupted learning, combined with lengthy social isolation from friends and extended family has weighed heavily on young people in the community,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute tells us that “continued lockdowns and school closures” not the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most harm on young Victorians.
“Data also shows that country students are falling further behind kids in the city.
“The Nationals believe being at school with teachers and friends is the best place for children to be which is why we’ll deliver Victoria’s first Face-to-Face Learning Guarantee to keep schools open.
“Our Guarantee means Mildura students will be in the classroom from the first day of Term 1 to the last day of Term 4, to get their education – and their future – back on track.”
To deliver this Guarantee, The Nationals in government will provide free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for all students and staff, with vaccinations made easily available, and that air purifiers are in all classrooms.
It will be backed with ‘test to stay’ protocols and a plan to manage staff shortages so classes can always go ahead.
As well as guaranteeing time in the classroom, The Nationals will, in our first 100 days of government, make the legislative changes necessary to unlock 2000 mental health practitioners for Victorian schools.
“Social isolation, playground bans and the difficulties of disruptive remote learning has had a poor effect on children’s mental health, driving a shadow pandemic which can’t be ignored,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our kids deserve the best start in life. We’ll deliver and recover and rebuild by keeping our schools open.”
Our plan No more lockdowns. Recover. Rebuild. will address six priority areas:
No More Lockdowns
- Ensure there are no more lockdowns;
- Repeal Labor’s pandemic legislation;
- Amend the Victorian Constitution to restrict the ongoing exercise of State of Emergency or State of Disaster powers, and;
- Establish a Royal Commission into Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slash Waiting Lists and Fix Victoria’s Healthcare Crisis
- Halve surgery waiting lists in its first term;
- Build a new, dedicated Infectious Diseases Response Centre that will lead Australia in research and ensure our hospitals have the capacity to treat patients;
- End the blame game and work with the Federal Government and all healthcare providers to fix Victoria’s healthcare crisis;
- Avoid widespread Code Brown declarations and never postpone important medical procedures, such as cancer and heart surgery, and;
- Never place IVF on hold for Victorians wanting to have a family.
Fix the Mental Health Crisis
- Fix Victoria’s mental health crisis;
- Recognise counsellors as mental health practitioners on coming to government, and unlock this vital resource for our schools, and;
- Rebuild Victoria’s mental health workforce and launch Australia’s largest ever mental health support worker recruitment drive Ensure there are no more lockdowns
Keep Schools Open
- Deliver Victoria’s first Face-to-Face Learning Guarantee;
- Keep our schools open and re-focus learning on the fundamentals, and;
- Deliver a Mental Health Practitioner in every Victorian primary and secondary school.
Keep the Cost of Living Down
- Guarantee no new taxes;
- Stop wasteful government spending;
- Commission an urgent, independent audit of all of Labor’s capital projects over the value of $100 million to ensure that taxpayers are getting value for money, and;
- Re-establish parliamentary scrutiny over major infrastructure project
Support small business to recover and employ more Victorians
- Commit $2.5 billion to Rebuilding Jobs and Bringing Manufacturing Home;
- Commit $1 billion to boost manufacturing in regional Victoria;
- Implement a comprehensive plan to rebuild Victoria’s Events Industry;
- Support business to recover and employ more Victorians;
- Guarantee regional and rural Victoria gets its fair share of business and investment;
- Work with Melbourne’s best and brightest business people to develop and implement a new, business-centred Melbourne Economic Strategy, and;
- Restore Melbourne’s position as the World’s Most Liveable City.