Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson Ellen Sandell has joined Greens Northcote candidate and local school teacher Campbell Gome in Northcote to announce the Greens election plan for $50 million in funding to continue a highly successful program of free bush camps for public school children in Victoria.
Victorian public schools are some of the lowest funded in the country and sadly limited funding and lack of qualified outdoor education teachers mean once common school camps are disappearing from the education system.
The Positive Start Camps and Experiences program was initiated in the wake of COVID to re-engage primary and secondary students and to boost their physical and emotional health and wellbeing, but is due to run out of funding in June next year.
The Greens are calling on the next Government to provide ongoing funding for the program to ensure our kids can reap the educational as well as physical and mental health benefits of being in nature.
Today’s announcement is in addition to the Greens $1.46 billion dollar commitment over the next five years to address the current shortfall and ensure that all children have access to high quality, genuinely free public education here in Victoria.
More funding will mean that schools will be able to hire more teachers and support staff with better pay and conditions, reduce class sizes and better support disadvantaged students.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens Deputy Leader and Environment Spokesperson Ellen Sandell MLA:
“Spending time in nature is so essential to children's physical and emotional development and for fostering a love and appreciation of Victoria’s spectacular natural environment.
“I’m really saddened that kids are missing out on camps and getting out into the bush because our public schools lack the funding to deliver what should be core learning."
Quotes attributable to Greens candidate for Northcote Campbell Gome
“As a parent, primary school teacher and lifelong bushwalker, I know first hand how vital being in nature is for kids and young adults. It enriches their lives, boosts mental health and builds a lifelong understanding of their place in our world.
“The free nature camps program has been a great initiative in the wake of pandemic lockdowns, and it would be a real shame if Labor failed to continue the program.”