Pyne’s interest in south-west school plan

FEDERAL Education Minister Christopher Pyne has given a sympathetic ear to a south-west Victorian plan to improve alarmingly-low year 12 secondary school achievement rates.

He heard the plan explained by a deputation of south-west leaders who visited Canberra this week to get the ears of key leaders.

“We were pleasantly surprised by Mr Pyne’s interest in our project,” Great South Coast Group chairman Cr Chris O’Connor of Terang told The Standard.

“He said it was a terrific initiative.”

Mr Pyne said he would  write to Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon suggesting it was a worthwhile project.

Only 57 per cent of students in the south-west reached year 12 or equivalent in 2011. 

Employment and education leaders have warned a generation will struggle to find work without appropriate skills or a decent education.

The Great South Coast Group  has suggested government funding of  $500,000 over three years to help community groups tackle the issue.

Cr O’Connor said Mr Pyne also said Deakin University would be well positioned to take advantage of a new fee structure announced by the government. 

The deputation also met Infrastructure and Regional Development  Minister Warren Truss seeking a commitment to upgrade the Princes Highway west to Auslink network status.

“He said that program was under review and  advised us to seek Victorian government support, which we understand we would receive,” Cr O’Connor said.

“For the great south coast this is a priority to have Auslink status so it becomes eligible for federal funding.”

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