The Smith Family fears govt may pull youth scheme funds

The Smith Family in the Illawarra has called on the federal government to recommit funding for a program which helps troubled youth re-engage with education and the workforce.

The partnership brokers program has reached thousands of teenagers in the region through work experience and other opportunities over the past 4½ years.

The Smith Family's Anne Green said the government should include funding beyond the end of this year in next week's federal budget.

She said it would be "petty" if they refused to do so because it was a previous government initiative.

"Whatever side of politics you're in, it's successful," she said.

"Tony Abbott is slashing and burning youth attainment and transition provisions.

"We hope he can recommit funding, because it's working."

A spokesman for Senator Scott Ryan, parliamentary secretary to the education minister, did not say whether funding for the program would continue.

"Under the previous Labor government there was no funding for Partnership Brokers beyond the end of 2014," Luke Buesnel said.

Future funding would be considered as part of the 2014 federal budget.

In response to a question on the success of the program, the spokesman said the Coalition wanted to provide quality education and policy certainty to schools.

"We are focused on ... what students learn through a robust national curriculum, improved quality of teaching, and a greater say for teachers, principals, parents and the community about how their school is run," he said.

Smith Family partnership broker manager Ian Batty said children from disadvantaged backgrounds needed to be inspired to knuckle down.

"Every year, 1000 people [in the Illawarra] will spill out of the system without qualification," he said. "The reality is, there's no quick fix."

File picture.

File picture.


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