Encounter Youth is extremely disappointed that as the largest provider of alcohol & other drug education in South Australian Schools it was not given an opportunity to consult with Steven Marshall before his announcement to fund Life Education with $1.2 million should his Liberal party win the next state election.
Not only were Encounter Youth not consulted, no tender process was undertaken to select and back Life Education to provide this pledged program.
Encounter Youth welcome the commitment of funding into the drug education sector, but are disappointed that the key South Australian stakeholders were not consulted.
“It is hard to understand why the Marshall Liberal team would already have a preferred provider in absence of a clear consultation and tender process with the non-government drug education sector,” said Nigel Knowles, CEO of Encounter Youth.
Mr Knowles is very concerned this pledge will end Encounter Youth’s highly effective Party Safe Education™ program in South Australia.
“We are very worried that the future of our program will be in jeopardy and diminish our Australian-leading management of the annual Schoolies Operation.
Our evidence-based alcohol & other drug education program is not government funded and we believe that it will cease to exist if this pledge is followed through,” Mr Knowles said.
Encounter Youth is the largest provider of alcohol & other drug Education in South Australian Schools, educating 19,467 students and parents last year.
Mr Knowles believes that it is also likely to end the life of any other non-government drug education program and monopolise the sector in South Australia.
“Our fee-for-service program simply cannot compete with this level of funding and ‘free’ education provision to South Australian schools.
Because this pledge delivers all the funding to a single provider, it runs the risk of creating a dependency on the tax-payer for the foreseeable future.
Life Education is well respected for providing health education in primary schools but Encounter Youth are simply appealing to the Marshall Liberal team to consult more broadly with the key South Australian drug education stakeholders.
We strongly advise the Marshall Liberal team to reconsider this pledge and submit this significant funding to a more rigorous and transparent consultation process.
We welcome and look forward to working with the Marshall Liberal team to continue to develop effective drug education strategies in South Australia,” said Mr Knowles.