I would like to thank the New South Wales community for their generous contributions to The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal. We are very pleased to have raised over $4.5 million nationally to help thousands of disadvantaged children across Australia with vital support for their education.
For the one in seven young Australians living below the poverty line, keeping up at school can be extremely challenging.
Family struggles at home can have a flow-on effect to a child’s learning. In our daily work, we hear heartbreaking stories of children missing school because they’re embarrassed about not being able to read or pretending to lose their homework because they hadn’t understood what was happening in class.
The donations we’ve received will help us reach almost 11,000 children in need through The Smith Family’s out-of-school learning programs – such as student2student, which helps younger children improve their reading skills by pairing them with older ‘reading buddies’, as well as our after-school Learning Clubs and the iTrack online mentoring program.
We are seeing great outcomes for the young people participating in our programs.
For example, in 2017, 96 per cent of primary school students improved their reading ability through the student2student program, while 86 per cent of students agreed that going to a Learning Club helped them do better in class.
Another 85 per cent of high school students said their iTrack mentor helped them feel more confident about their future job, career or study options.
To everyone who has given their valuable time and dollars to support our work, we extend a huge thank you.
It is heart-warming to see people responding with great care to this large-scale issue of poverty in Australia, which is affecting so many of our young people.
With this support, we can help more children in need break the cycle of disadvantage and create better futures for themselves.
Steve Macready, The Smith Family General Manager NSW/ACT
Postpone the basin plan and help our farmers
The best thing the government and the Murray Darling Basin Authority can do for the drought affected areas is put aside the Basin Plan for 12 to 18 months.
Providing environmental water to our farmers so they can grow fodder and food to get us through this dry period, currently there is about 3.5 Sydney Harbours of environmental water in storages.
The Murray and its tributaries have had many environmental flows over the past several years and are designed to go years without flooding. So, use the water put aside for the next year’s environmental flows towards farmers who are prepared to grow fodder and food to get us through this drought.
The need to do this is more important than ever.
If you are willing to gamble on the drought breaking in the next few months then you are happy to gamble with Australians’ lives, mental health and well being.
Allocating some environmental water to farmers to grow fodder and food, without paybacks and financial gain will really show that social, economic and environmental outcomes are on equal footing.
You have the power to do something. Don’t be the ones who destroy people’s lives.
Luke Harrington, Deniliquin
Where’s your priorities?
There would not be a town in rural NSW that wouldn't be crying out for a doctor, nurse, school teacher, ambulance officer, school/hospital repairs, aged care assistant – the list goes on.
What does the Premier Gladys Berejiklian do? She gives half a million to the greyhound industry as prize money for one, yes one, race – a race that will last about 37 seconds. Gladys certainly got her priorities right.