Labor must stop playing games with regional students’ education

The Nationals WA are demanding Education Minister Sue Ellery reverse her decision to close Moora Residential College in light of her latest backflip.

The Minister this week granted an application for Bunbury Baptist College to reopen an existing education facility in Dalyellup, despite rejecting the move just days prior.

Ms Ellery’s attributed her most recent backflip – which comes seven months after her decision to shut down the School of the Air, only to change her mind weeks later – to “community feeling”.

“Parents should be able to choose where they send their children to school,” Ms Ellery said in relation to the new Dalyellup school.

The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies welcomed the decision to grant the application for the former Ocean Forrest Lutheran College site, saying it was “absolutely the right call”.

“However, if community opposition is the Minister’s basis for making decisions then the closure of Moora Residential College must also be reversed,” Ms Davies said.

“Since December last year the community of Moora and surrounding districts – not to mention the wider WA public – have decried the Minister’s cruel decision to shut the residential college, but there has been no change in the Government’s position.

“Yet down in the Labor-held seat of Bunbury it took just a few days of community opposition to change the Minister’s mind.

“It just reinforces the view held by many regional West Australians that unless you live in a Labor-held seat then your community can expect to get the short end of the stick.”

Education spokesperson Peter Rundle said the McGowan Government was “playing favourites” and only concerned with supporting students in areas of the State where it was of strategic benefit to Labor’s chances of re-election in 2021. 

“Labor must stop playing politics and treat all students equally,” he said. “It is concerning that the education of a student from one regional area is given less weighting than that of a student in the city or another regional centre.”

Shane Love, The Nationals Member for Moore, said the Moora community felt neglected by the McGowan Government and that their concerns over the residential college’s closure had fallen on deaf ears.

“Minister Ellery has shown a propensity to change her mind so I again urge her to do so in relation to Moora Residential College,” Mr Love said.

“The Minister could end the pain and uncertainty being felt across our community with the stroke of a pen.

“Instead, students and staff have been left to anguish over their future. It is having a devastating effect on them and their families.”

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