1973 Abolition of school milk

Image: National Archives of Australia

Free school milk continued long beyond my primary school days until a report to the government in 1973 deemed it poor value for money. While it came too late for me, I regard the abolition of school milk as one of the finer achievements of the Whitlam government, up there with free university education and bringing the troops home from Vietnam.

Free school milk was introduced by the Menzies government in 1951 and discontinued under the Whitlam government in 1973. Of course, not everyone agrees that the abolition of school milk was a good thing. And there have been calls to revive it, particularly for disadvantaged schools. Research shows that one in seven children arrive at school not having eaten breakfast, which can affect their learning and attendance.

The Victorian Government funds a School Breakfast Club in around 500 schools, sourcing fresh milk from the Victorian dairy industry. The program costs the state around $14 million a year. In 2017, the NSW/ACT Executive General Manager of Foodbank said there were around 700 disadvantaged schools in NSW and the ACT that could benefit from such a program.

Some politicians have supported the reintroduction of school milk as a way to support struggling dairy farmers.

This website uses cookies but doesn't share them.