Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP is calling on the State Government to reverse the full extent of their cuts to regional education following today’s School of the Air backflip.
Mr Wilson welcomed the news that funding for Schools of the Air would not be withdrawn, but said the McGowan Government should heed the community’s warning about withdrawing funding for country services.
Under the full range of Labor’s cuts, Pemberton, Kalgoorlie and Bridgetown Camp Schools will be closed, while agricultural colleges will have reduced revenue to invest in equipment and machinery for their students.
“The State Government has only pledged to forgo a little more than a third of their planned cuts to education to save itself a bit of political pain,” he said.
“Retaining the School of the Air program is a great result for the community, but as it stands I’ve still got three camp schools in my electorate that are facing the axe.
“Then there’s the additional measure that forces agricultural colleges to hand over 20 per cent of their trust fund to the Department of Education from 2019 – that fund is supported by farm revenue and helps the colleges invest in new resources for their students.
“I attended dozens of school graduations in December and it was actually striking how many students and teachers talked about their trips to regional camp schools as one of the highlights of the academic year.
“The impact of withdrawing that service would be far more important to regional families than the miniscule budget savings gained.”