Shire fights LLEN cuts

Northern Grampians Shire Council has taken a lead role in the fight against cuts to funding for Local Learning and Employment Networks across the state.

Cr Tony Driscoll is passionate about supporting youth in the shire.

Cr Tony Driscoll is passionate about supporting youth in the shire.

Council fears the cuts, which have been ongoing since LLENs were first established, will eventually see the organisation cease to exist.

Cr Tony Driscoll said this would have an enormous impact on the support that is currently provided to youth in regions such as Stawell and St Arnaud.

"We need to strongly urge the state government not to change the model of funding for our LLENs," Cr Driscoll said.

"We are in the fortunate position to have two LLENs in our shire, but we will end up with none if the funding model is changed.

"I think we need to write to Education Minister Martin Dixon and ask that the funding be left as it is."

Cr Driscoll said he was fearful that LLENs could be forced to close by the end of this year if the government funding is discontinued.

"They won't exist by the end of the year without the government funding," he said.

"These groups have structures and processes in place now where they provide excellent support to our youth. Why do we have to continue to reinvent these things all the time.

"The systems are already there and they are working well. It belies logic why someone has to go and reinvent this. Quite simply, we need to get the message across that if it aint broke, don't mess with it.

"Our youth are disadvantaged enough now in shires like ours. We certainly don't need the current funding model changed, because it would only disadvantage these youth even more.

"LLENs do a marvellous job for all our youth and I think we should advocate strongly to maintain the current funding model."

Other local government regions across Victoria are also backing the future of the Local Learning and Employment Network.

Local government authorities have voted unanimously for the Municipal Association of Victoria "to call on the Premier of Victoria to commit sufficient funding for the 31 LLENs across Victoria to secure their programs into the future".

South West Mayors have joined with their Northern Grampians Shire Council counterparts in supporting LLENS.

In a joint statement, four mayors from Colac Otway, Corangamite, Warrnambool and Moyne, said that South West Local Learning and Employment Network (SWLLEN) is an established organisation and long-term achiever in supporting young people in this region.

"LLEN provides a critical link between the broader community and young people which is vital to assisting overall improvements of economic growth for the region and tackling the increasing youth unemployment rate," they said.

"LLENs are trusted local organisations across Victoria that provide transition and employment outcomes for young people. No other organisations are as uniquely positioned to undertake this work."

Councils have expressed their concerns over the continued decline in funding since the Local Learning and Employment Networks were first established.

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