The McGowan Government has again shown its ignorance for the challenges faced by regional WA families by slashing the Boarding Away from Home Allowance (BAHA).
Nationals Leader Mia Davies said confirmation by Education Minister Sue Ellery that the BAHA would be cut by $628 over the next four years was a cruel blow for regional families.
“The BAHA is an important subsidy which assists families living in remote areas of our State send their children to school,” Ms Davies said. “Through no fault of their own, parents receiving the BAHA are unable to send their children to schools nearby because there are no schools within hundreds of kilometres of their home.
“The allowance provides financial relief for these families, who are constantly having to find extra money within their budgets to cover increasing school and boarding fees.”
Ms Davies said while in government The Nationals increased the BAHA by $785 through Royalties for Regions while investing heavily in regional residential colleges to provide access to quality education closer to home and in an affordable setting.
“The Minister for Regional Development must be held to account for the BAHA cut, given that the Royalties for Regions funding is being siphoned away,” Ms Davies said.
“How does the Minister expect regional families to remain in or relocate to regional Western Australia when she is ripping away Government assistance for their children to attend school?
“It is a heartless cut which will be felt across the State.”
The Nationals education spokesperson Peter Rundle said the budget savings from cutting the BAHA would not go into reducing State debt, rather it would fund Labor’s $5 billion worth of election promises – most of which is tied up in Metronet.
“I would like to say I am surprised but the McGowan Government has repeatedly shown a level of disdain for regional WA families,” Mr Rundle said.
“Clearly this Government places greater importance on building Perth rail projects and multi-storey car parks at Mandurah train station than ensuring our regional kids get a quality education.”
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