As you would be aware, I have been in the media a lot recently regarding education funding and the future of our young people. On October 3, we were notified that our school funding would be drastically cut and that we wouldn’t be receiving the amount we budgeted for 2018/19. In addition, we were asked to payback $630 000 of already spent funds, a prospect we found simply unacceptable.
After attempting to arrange meetings and discussions with the government and getting little response, we decided to make as much noise about this as possible in the media to show our disappointment with the decision. Thankfully, we were able to meet with Education Minister Dan Tehan MP who agreed to reverse the decision for 2018 and 2019 inside a day. I am thankful for his swiftness in addressing this issue and for coming to one of my schools to witness firsthand the reason I fight for those who have no one else. He has promised to look into the funding model to ensure that we’re looked after beyond 2019. It’s something that we’ll be monitoring closely.
I would also like to thank Tanya Plibersek MP, Bill Shorten’s office and the other Labor members that met with us in Canberra last Tuesday. We met with almost every member that has a Youth Off The Streets service of in their electorate which shows the dedication Labor has to my organisation and the support we hold in the areas we work. It was a big meeting and one that made us proud.
We’d like to thank the media that rallied behind us. Thanks to Sharri Markson of the Daily Telegraph for breaking the story. I would also like to extend a thank you to my personal friends in Ray Hadley and Alan Jones for running with the story and inviting me on to their shows.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my supporters, staff and volunteers. I am constantly humbled by the support I am shown and this past month has been no exception. I received an outpour of messages when the news broke and I am certain the public support helped us ensure funding for the next two years. I believe that supporting young people is an investment into our future; and I’m glad Australians share this sentiment.
-Father Chris Riley