State Labor Axes Funding for Young Sunshine Coast Mums

Local News

A life-changing Sunshine Coast program supporting young mums is facing collapse following news that the Palaszczuk/Miles State Labor Government has axed its funding, putting the future of many young mums at risk.

The Supporting Teenagers with Education, Mothering and Mentoring (STEMM) program at Burnside has helped around 300 young mums complete their education and enter the workforce over the last 16 years.

At 17 years old, Rebecca Kildey was caring for her three-year-old son out of a women’s refuge in Brisbane when she first joined the STEMM program.

The former student used the opportunity to complete a Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) and receive a certificate III in Business and has since gone on to build a successful disability support business.

Crediting the support provided by STEMM for her family’s success, Ms Kildey’s son Michael has now grown up and become the first member of her family to graduate year 12 and is now studying to become an electrician.

“Without STEMM I never would have found myself back at school and I was fearful that I would lose custody of my child,” Ms Kildey said.

“I am shattered to learn that project funding could be cut from this program because I know first-hand how life-changing it can be for young mums who have nowhere else to go.”

“My success and that of my son’s is evidence that the STEMM program works to break the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage and I am devastated for future young mums who might not get the support they need if this cut goes ahead.”

Federal Member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien and Marty Hunt, LNP for Nicklin have been avid supporters of the program and they have labelled the move ‘careless and cruel’.

“STEMM provides a life-changing opportunity for young mums to continue their education and training, develop life and parenting skills, build healthy relationships and look after their physical and emotional wellbeing,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The State Government’s decision to axe funding for young mums on the Sunshine Coast is unforgiveable.”

“We are calling on Steven Miles to do the right thing by these young mums and reverse its decision to stop funding this critically important Sunshine Coast program.”

Marty Hunt, LNP for Nicklin, said the Palasczczuk/Miles Labor Government was once again short-changing the Sunshine Coast community.

“STEMM is a fantastic program supporting young mums to gain support and qualifications to help them succeed in life,” Mr Hunt said.

“As a local school-based police officer, I’m deeply concerned about the prospect of this program being cut because I understand how crucial community programs like STEMM are to so many young people.”

“This program is exactly the kind of support that is required to ensure we’re giving young people, particularly those in challenging circumstances, the best chance of success as they go through life.”


The STEMM Program has supported around 300 young pregnant women by providing a safe learning environment with individualised support plans for those who would otherwise be forced to stop their education.

The first of its kind in Queensland, the STEMM classroom offers a unique curriculum for pregnant teens and young mums to provide them with support to continue their education and reach their full potential.

Partnering with a number of organisations such as Education Queensland, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and Horizon2, the program supports mothers to navigate their new role as parents while also and providing them with the opportunities to build the foundations of a successful career.

Students have the opportunity to study a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, the Tertiary Preparation Pathway, and a number of online beauty courses.

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