More local students will learn on a full stomach with a re-elected Andrews Labor Government to expand the school breakfast program and provide free school lunches to 1,000 schools across the state.

One in seven kids arrive at school with an empty stomach, making it hard for them to pay attention in class and get the most out of their education.

That’s why the Andrews Labor Government launched School Breakfast Clubs, which provide 50,000 free breakfasts to 500 Victorian primary schools every week, but there is more to do.

Across the Bass Coast Shire more than 95,000 school breakfasts have been delivered over the last four years, with more than 75,000 served across Cardinia Shire Council.

Labor will expand this into a new program that will serve up a free, healthy breakfast and lunch to students in need at 1,000 Victorian Government primary and secondary schools every school day.

It is estimated that around 10 per cent of children who attend breakfast clubs also come to school with nothing packed for lunch. Often staff will pay for lunch for kids to make sure they have something to eat.

The new lunch program will mainly consist of sandwiches, soup, fruit and vegetables. As with to the School Breakfast Clubs, Labor will work with Foodbank to include locally sourced food.

In contrast, the former Liberal government cut the Education Maintenance Allowance, which went towards supporting local breakfast clubs. All this did was hurt students. Victorians recently saw what could be expected under the Liberals, with the Morrison Government threatening funding cuts for the Foodbank Program.

In addition to introducing school lunches, Labor will also provide school holiday backpacks with breakfast supplies to students in need and deliver a series of cooking masterclasses at 100 schools to share nutritional and meal preparation advice and information with families who are struggling. This will help make sure that even outside school hours, kids are getting the healthy diet they need to be their best.

Research has shown that since Labor’s School Breakfast Clubs started, nine out of ten teachers have seen improved student concentration, while six out of ten teachers have noted improved attendance and more than eight out of ten teachers said they now had better relationships with their students.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“When the Liberals cut Free Fruit Friday, leaving thousands of Victorian kids hungry, it said everything you need to know about their agenda.”

“If given the chance we know they’ll cut school programs again – cuts to breakfast clubs, cuts to school uniform support and cuts to helping kids go on school camps and excursions.”

Quote attributable to Labor Candidate for Bass Jordan Crugnale

“Kids can’t be their best on an empty tummy – that’s why we set up free School Breakfast Clubs – and that is why Labor will make sure kids in need get two square meals a day.”

Quote attributable to Labor Candidate for Gembrook Michael Galea

“School Breakfast Clubs have served up millions of breakfasts to Victorian students around the state, and teachers are seeing the enormous difference it makes in class.”

Dan AndrewsPolicy42