My adjournment tonight is for the Treasurer, and the action I am seeking is that funding is provided to Tomorrow Today in this year’s budget to continue their incredible work in the Benalla community and the delivery of the Education Benalla program. Tomorrow Today is driving transformative change in the region, addressing intergenerational disadvantage and supporting more than 1500 children and families annually through more than 20 programs and engagement with 124 community partners. Off the back of strong community advocacy, Tomorrow Today received funding in 2021 from the Victorian government, with the last payment due this May.
I will take this opportunity to update the government on what a strong return on investment there has been, a return of $4 for every dollar invested, as measured by Dandolo Partners. Since 2015 the Education Benalla program has resulted in a 9 per cent decrease in the proportion of children developmentally vulnerable in one or more Australian Early Development Census domains, as well as a 350 per cent increase in work experience placements, a 10 per cent increase in transition to work or study post school, 279 young people mentored by trained community members, a nearly 20 per cent decrease in the number of people aged 15 to 24 disengaged from education or employment and more than 80 per cent of Benalla’s zero-to-four-year-olds and a parent or carer attending a Tomorrow Today parent education program.
But do not just take this from me. Take it from Emmalee, a mother who wants the Treasurer to hear her story and ensure other parents can benefit from Tomorrow Today’s work. After her involvement in Parents Early Education Partnership sessions, this is what she had to say:
PEEP has helped me realise my potential and understand my kids a lot more.
It’s about removing the trauma bond and making it a parent/child bond.
They’re not just there an hour a week, they’re there 24/7. They make an effort. If you’re having a bad time they reach out and check in.
Sometimes I’ve had struggles with getting food. All I have to do is ring … and grab a gift voucher. Even with child protection and family law court they’ve written recommendations and letters, and provided emotional support. They’re cheerleaders and teachers and the biggest support a parent could possibly have.
We need to clone them to have them in every town!
The world would be a better place if everyone had access to the Tomorrow Today Foundation. Benalla is extremely lucky to have that service.
I wouldn’t be the parent I am today if it wasn’t for that service
Being involved in PEEP has really helped with my substance use. I recently just quit again. I have that better mental state … and a better understanding of what’s available. I can go ‘I’m struggling today but we can go to the splash park or the library and it’s good for me’.
I wish every parent could experience this.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Emmalee for her courage in allowing me to share her brave story. Emmalee is a powerful example of what Tomorrow Today does day in and day out. Our regional communities experience extreme disadvantage, and I ask the Treasurer to support Tomorrow Today and invest in the future of Benalla.