MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (13:00): I am really pleased to update the house on how the Andrews Labor Government is supporting people who have been in out-of-home care to access education and training. Care leavers are significantly less likely to access university after leaving school. For too many, social and economic barriers prevent students enrolling in TAFE or university, and that is why the Raising Expectations initiative is so important. Raising Expectations assists students who have been in out-of-home care to access TAFE and university. The program provides students with supports such as financial assistance, wraparound services including counselling, and academic and personal support. Last year I announced over $1 million in funding for the program to continue to the end of 2022, and last week I joined with the Minister for Child Protection, Minister Luke Donnellan, to launch the new Raising Expectations website and hear about the success of this program.
Raising Expectations has been a great success. There has been a sixfold increase in the number of care leavers participating in university and TAFE since 2015. This year there are well over 300 care leavers in TAFE and university. Not only that, but a recent analysis by Deloitte Access Economics found that, for every dollar invested in Raising Expectations, $1.80 is returned in economic and social benefits. When young people with a care experience are empowered and connected with the right information and supports, they overcome barriers and thrive in post-secondary education. I am particularly excited that there is a chat room connected to the new website. The new Raising Expectations website is an outstanding initiative, and it will undoubtedly help more students in supporting them as they enrol in TAFE and university. Raising Expectations changes the lives of so many, and I am very proud that this government backs it.