Engaging with primary and secondary schools across Government, Catholic and Independent sectors in the Victorian education system, the ResourceSmart Schools program provides a common framework to assist schools in minimizing waste, saving energy and water, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The program began in pilot projects in Victoria and New South Wales in 2002, and the subsequent Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) co-funded by the federal and state governments.. In 2007, The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) managed the rollout of AuSSI in Victoria. In 2008, DET formed a partnership with Sustainability Victoria (SV) to deliver AuSSI as ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic. In 2014, the program became known as ResourceSmart Schools.
Between 2011 and 2015, ResourceSmart Schools was implemented with funding from the Victorian Government’s Sustainability Fund ($8.035 million over four years). Prior to this phase, the program was being delivered primarily by one lead organization (CERES Community Environment Park), and the initiative mostly supported metropolitan schools. In efforts to improve equal across the state by reaching regional and rural schools, Sustainability Victoria introduced a place-based delivery model in 2011 and established nine regional consortia. In 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, the program received two single-year funding allocations and has undertaken a range of developmental reviews and evaluations. This phase has coincided with a change in government, with the incoming government reviewing climate change and related policies with the goal of working towards a zero net emissions target. ResourceSmart Schools is expected to play a part in this renewed government strategy.