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School Drought Money – where is it (Sykes)

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The Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes has joined the call in wanting to know what has happened to nearly three million dollars promised to drought affected communities three months ago by the State Government, as part of a school drought relief package.

“While the Government had made a big noise about the $2.9 million package announced in March, it seemed the money was still to reach schools and students in drought-affected country Victoria,” Dr Sykes said.

“It’s not apparent that any of the money has been spent as yet and the Minister for Education, when questioned in Parliament this week, had no knowledge of where the money was,” Dr Sykes said.

“Clearly it is important to spend any money allocated while people are feeling the impact of the drought. Taking kudos for announcing a package is one thing; The Nationals want to make sure the money is actually being utilised properly and effectively.

“The Education Minister cannot tell us whether that is the case, and surely he should

The package was aimed in particular at the five regions identified as suffering most from drought, Hume, Gippsland, the Grampians, Barwon-South Western and Loddon-Mallee.

The Premier promised funding support for drought support welfare officers to work with schools and provide support to students and families, as well as subsidies to schools to help with transport costs for students, books and stationary, counselling services and water conservation costs.

“The Nationals want the Minister to provide information about how much of that $2.9 million has been spent and in which program areas and specifically whether schools in those regions have actually received some financial assistance.

“The Government has announced the funding and it is important that schools and communities in the Benalla Electorate get their fair share of what is promised to them quickly,” Dr Sykes added.


Written by Greg Naylor

8 June 2007 at 7:53 pm

Posted in media release

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