The five-year project will aim to equalise the playing field and overcome the disastrous reality that by the age of 15, young people from low socioeconomic communities are 2-3 years behind in reading and maths compared to children from wealthy families. This limits their economic and health opportunities throughout their lives.
The project will include working with local community partners in the Brimbank area and will build on the success of existing programs, such as Growing Brimbank. Prior to the COVID-19 impacts, Brimbank’s unemployment rate was twice the national average and just 21% of the population had completed year 12, compared to the national average of 52%.
Project lead, Associate Professor Melinda Craike said wealth along with parental education had some of the biggest impact on whether young people would succeed in education and have good long-term health.
“It seems inconceivable in a modern Australia that young people from low income areas fall up to three years behind in their learning by age 15 compared to people from high income areas,” she said.
“In a wealthy, developed country like Australia, all children should be having the same opportunities to succeed and break the cycle of poverty.”