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Labor knows that strong public investment in the earliest years of life sets our children and young people up for a lifetime of success and wellbeing. World-class, well-resourced and accessible education is at the centre of our value system.
Labor will continue its record investment in South Australian children and young people to set them up for the future. Our education system will remain world class, and accessible and affordable for all South Australian families.
We will continue to fight the Liberals’ and Nick Xenophon’s cuts to education, because all children deserve access to high-quality education, regardless of their background or financial situation.
Children’s Centres will provide education programs, child care, family support programs and parent education programs in one location so that all children have their developmental needs met. In our next term, we will continue to invest in our Children’s Centres, delivering a broad range of integrated services to families to ensure the best outcomes for children.
Additional allied health professionals, including occupational therapists and speech pathologists, will work within Children’s Centres to provide even more support and early intervention for children. A greater focus on science and maths in preschools and Children’s Centres will prepare our children for lifelong learning and discovery in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Creating jobs for South Australia’s future generations is our priority, which is why we invested $250 million to build state-of-the-art science and maths facilities in public schools. The next step is to equip our children and young people with the skills required for employment in new and emerging industries – such as defence, aeronautical engineering, gaming, cyber security and artificial intelligence.
In our high-tech world, digital access has become an essential service, and that is why we will increase internet speeds in our public schools and provide laptops to all high school students from Year 10.
More Nature Play spaces in Children’s Centres and preschools will create healthy, active and resilient children and young people. We will also expand our successful Sports Voucher program.
We know that vaccinations save lives – that is why we will push ahead with our “no jab, no play” laws and improve access to vital vaccinations.
In our next term, we will implement the commitments in our plan for public education: Your Child, Their School, Our Future – increasing our investments in literacy and numeracy, and supporting our teachers to grow their skills.
We will provide additional funding to Catholic and independent schools, using a needs-based funding model, up to the Australian average. We will also provide $11 million a year in infrastructure funding to Catholic and independent schools.
Labor appointed a Commissioner for Children and Young People because, by ensuring children have the best start in life, they have the best possible chance of being successful and happy adults. In our next term, we will find new ways to give a voice to children and young people, and partner with them on decisions that affect their lives. We will also appoint a Commissioner for Aboriginal Children to be a voice and advocate for Aboriginal children in government policy and legislation.
We will continue our commitment to early intervention and prevention strategies to stem the rise of children being removed from families. We will invest in trialling evidence based intensive, in-home crisis intervention, counselling and life-skills, and education programs for families who have children at risk of being removed.
For children and young people who do enter the care system, we will strengthen the supports available after they turn 18. This includes continuing to provide payments to foster and kinship carers when young people are over 18 and engaged in tertiary education, or other post-high school training; increasing post-care services to assist with the transition to adult life; and expanding the existing Rapid Response model to include better access to housing, healthcare, skills training and other services from key government agencies.
We will also increase support for invaluable foster and kinship carers through our new family-based carer strategy.
Labor knows that early intervention and the prevention of abuse and neglect of vulnerable children and young people is essential, which is why we will also reintroduce the Prevention and Early Intervention for the Development and Wellbeing of Children and Young People Bill 2017.
We remain committed to working alongside key service providers to continue the important ongoing process of reforming the child protection system.