State funding rescue for LLEN

An organisation that supports disengaged youth will continue in 2015 after the State Government announced on Thursday it will pick up $8 million out of an $11 million shortfall.

The future of the 31 Local Learning and Employment Networks across Victoria were in doubt following the Federal Government’s decision to axe funding to the organisations for 2015 in its recent budget.

Each LLEN aims to improve participation, engagement, attainment and transition outcomes in 10 to 19 year olds.

Baw Baw Latrobe LLEN chief executive Mick Murphy said while he appreciated the State Government had increased its investment in the organisation from $2.3 million to $8 million, it still left the networks with a 40 per cent reduction on their previous $13.3 million budget.

“To be perfectly honest, it’s the level and potential arrangement I had expected,” Mr Murphy said.

“(The reduction) will have an impact on all LLEN organisations, which will vary from one to the next.”

Mr Murphy said his team would do all they could to ensure service delivery was not reduced, but conceded that “something will have to give”.

He said he would know more about how provisions may be affected once details, including the State Government’s priorities for the organisation, were available.

In making the announcement on Thursday, Education Minister Martin Dixon reiterated the State Government’s commitment to better outcomes for young people.

“The new Children and Youth Area Partnerships framework, detailed in the Napthine Government’s Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Strategy, will bring together key government and community sector leaders to tackle child and youth vulnerability, including engagement in education,” Mr Dixon said.

“The Napthine Government has a proud record of working with vulnerable young people.

“As a further sign of this unwavering commitment, in the coming months we will be working with LLENs, Workplace Learning Coordinators, schools, industry and other stakeholders to manage the transition to a more effective and sustainable state-based model.”

Mr Murphy said it was positive to see the State Government seeking stakeholders opinions in this way.