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Australian Government Defunds Life Education

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Public Statement 
30 May 2017

The recent news that our 2017/18 Budget Submission was unsuccessful now finds Life Education defunded by the Australian Government for the first time in ‘literally decades’.

The Australian Government has been a long term provider of funding to Life Education, primarily in support of the work of its National Office.  This saw over $500,000 invested in Life Education by the Australian Government in 2016/17. 

By all accounts the Government was very happy with this investment, particularly the program development work undertaken which better enables us to respond to needs in primary school communities in relation to illicit drugs such as Ice.

In 2017/18 the financial support to be provided by the Australian Government has been cut to zero.  The decision has been taken to defund Life Education.  This is quite a remarkable given the compelling need that exists across our community for strong, sustained and effective preventive health education.  

Life Education will support the safer and healthier development of some 720,000 children in 2016/17.

Student participation in the Life Education program

Student Participation - Australian Government Defunds Life Education

In 2017/18 we had expected more than 750,000 young Australians would participate in our program, in school communities right across Australia.  This growth in program participation is clear evidence of our relevance and usefulness to schools and their students, their teachers and their parents.  School demand for our program consistently outstrips our capacity to supply it.  This is where the Australian Government funding cut will impact – many tens of thousands of young Australians will now miss out on the opportunity we could otherwise provide them to develop the critical life skills they need to make safer and healthier choices.

Our 2017/18 Budget Submission was seeking $500,000 pa for 3 years, representing an important contribution to the cost of a range of functions critical to the effective and sustained delivery of the Life Education program to an increasing number of children each year.

The Australian Governments defunding decision will require us to materially revise our expectations of what is achievable in the short to medium term.  While it will be challenging for us, this cut will be most felt by the many children and their teachers and parents in school communities right across Australia that will now be denied access to our program. 

Of all the funding to cut, surely our investment in Australia's future - ie. our children - would be the last you'd expect to suffer this fate.

David Ballhausen - CEO
Life Education Australia



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