21 March 2016
Leader of The Nationals and Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has criticised an Andrews Labor Government funding program which is designed to provide a one-off drought assistance payment to students.
Mr Walsh said the Camps Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) program which provides grants of $375 per student was only being made available to students who attended schools in the 10 declared drought-affected Local Government Areas.
He said the program discriminated against students who lived in the drought-affected areas but accessed their education outside of those areas.
“This program is designed to ensure students have the opportunity to participate in camps sports and excursions and should be available to all students who live in areas of country Victoria which are drought declared.”
Mr Walsh said this issue impacted on two Local Government Areas in his electorate Gannawarra and Buloke.
“I have been contacted by the School Council Chair of Swan Hill Specialist School. Their enrolment includes 26 students who live in Gannawarra and 4 who live in Buloke.
“As there are no appropriate specialist facilities for these students in their own residential settings they travel to Swan Hill to access their education “ Mr Walsh said.
He urged the government to immediately extend the program to cover all students who live in the 10 declared drought-affected Local Government Areas.
“Students should not be discriminated against because they are forced to travel to access appropriate education “ Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said he had written to the Minister for Agriculture outlining his concerns and seeking changes to the program to include all country students who live in drought-declared areas of Victoria.