The Nationals have condemned Labor’s sweeping cuts to country education saying the McGowan Government’s decision was further evidence of a city-centric Government with no plan for regional Western Australia.
“Today is a dark day for regional education in Western Australia,” The Nationals Leader Mia Davies said.
“There is no good news for staff, students and families who rely on School of the Air, or attend the Northam or Moora residential colleges – they have been left facing the prospect of finding a new school or a new job.
“It is a disgraceful decision, especially when you contrast it with the $68 million inner-city school being trumpeted by the Premier and Education Minister just two days ago.”
Cuts announced by Labor Education Minister Sue Ellery today include:
- Closure of both Northam and Moora residential colleges
- Abolition of Schools of the Air in Hedland, Carnarvon, Derby, Kalgoorlie and Meekatharra.
- Closure of camp schools in Bridgetown, Dampier, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Pemberton
- Funding slashed for Bunbury Senior High School’s gifted and talented students program
- 170 education positions axed
Ms Davies said Labor went to the election with $5 billion worth of election commitments, $1.3 billion of which were unfunded.
“The McGowan Government has made a decision that puts the needs of country kids and their education at the bottom of the pile, behind unfunded election commitments like Metronet,” she said.
While in Government The Nationals invested $399 million into regional education, including $52 million to upgrade residential colleges.
The McGowan Government’s latest regional cuts follow on from funding reductions to the Boarding Away from Home Allowance and the removal of 35 regional education workers, many of which dealt with Aboriginal students.
Member for Moore Shane Love, whose electorate takes in Moora Residential College, said “the McGowan Government was discriminating against regional Western Australians.”
“It’s an attack on the regions and it’s an attack on regional students,” Mr Love said.
“With metropolitan seats making up more than 75 per cent of the Labor caucus, this Government was always going to put city voters first. In the lead up to the election The Nationals predicted such cuts as Labor refused to outline a credible plan to fix the State’s finances.
“It’s time the Premier stopped using Budget repair as an excuse to slash and burn services and projects in non-Labor electorates and tell the truth – decisions like this are to help pay for their unfunded, extravagant election promises.”