Bath calls on special school funding to be in May state budget

Last week in parliament the Andrews Labor Government was called on to provide full funding for the new standalone Latrobe Special Developmental School (SDS) in the upcoming state budget.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said it is imperative the Education Minister, James Merlino commits to funding the standalone school in this budget round.

“I have been advocating and raising Latrobe SDS’s appalling facilities and deteriorating state since coming to state parliament four years ago,’ said Ms Bath.

“Too many questions regarding the Latrobe SDS standalone school have gone unanswered.

“The Latrobe SDS working group have been left in the dark.  The working group have contacted me and are very concerned there will be no commitment from the Andrews Labor Government.

“It is time Labor acknowledged Latrobe SDS importance to the community and placed the needs of students and staff first.

Ms Bath used the last parliament sitting day before the state budget to demand the Andrews Labor Government do not to delay the project further.

“I am aware Labor chose to strategically delay the budget until after the federal election.  What are they trying to hide?

“The working group has written to the Education Minister seeking answers.  Parents want to know when their school will be funded and want confirmation their school will remain a developmental school”.

“Work on the new facility must start on this year and the government cannot obfuscate its responsibility any longer.

Ms Bath praised the hardworking staff, family and friends of Latrobe SDS who lobbied hard to force the State Government to back track and announce their new school would not be
co-located with Traralgon College.

“As stated by the working group, the existing Latrobe Special Developmental School was never built for students with disabilities, yet 61 years later we have a facility in a complete state of disrepair with unanswered questions.

“The conditions are woeful, inadequate and riddled with asbestos.

“The Andrews Labor Government must act now and deliver a gold standard in special developmental education and care.”