Labor cuts target vulnerable regional students
The McGowan Government will axe more than 20 regional education staff who support and assist indigenous families and students.
Aboriginal education consultants, coordinators and liaison officers comprise two-thirds of Labor’s targeted regional education jobs cull.
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies expressed grave concern at the nature of the cuts.
“At a time when outcomes for Aboriginal students remain disproportionately and unacceptably low, the McGowan Government is cutting employees which ensure our indigenous students are given the best chance to succeed at school,” Ms Davies said.
“I am concerned the McGowan Government has placed Aboriginal families in regional WA at a further disadvantage.
“We could see declining attendance rates and increasing drop-out rates as a consequence of this decision by the Labor Government.”
Ms Davies said the North West would feel Labor’s cuts the deepest.
“More than 60 per cent of the jobs to go in the Pilbara and Kimberley are staff dealing with Aboriginal education,” she said.
“Indigenous students comprise a significant portion of the school population in both regions but they face challenges to completing their education.
“Evidence shows Aboriginal students are twice as likely as the average Australian school student to enter school with a learning or development problem. As a result this impacts on their ability to meet key education benchmarks, including year 12 completion.”
Ms Davies said at least 35 positions in regional education would be eradicated by the new school year, leaving many country areas short-staffed.
“Teachers and education staff across the State are telling us that they can’t afford to lose any more personnel,” she said.
“It gets to the point where the standard of education our regional kids are receiving has to be affected, and it’s through no fault of the teachers.
“Unfortunately, when a Government such as this goes to an election with $5 billion in election commitments – many of which were unfunded – they need to start finding money.
“The McGowan Government has no qualms in ripping money out of the regional education system while it builds 18 new train stations and 72km of new Metronet track in Perth.”