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The Upper House of the Western Australian Parliament is demanding the McGowan Government reverse its cruel cuts to regional education.
A motion moved by The Nationals WA Deputy Leader Jacqui Boydell on Wednesday called for the Labor Government to honour its own election commitment to provide “a quality education to WA children and young people regardless of where they live”.
The motion was passed by the Legislative Council by a margin of 20 votes to 12 – with only Labor MPs voting against it.
Ms Boydell said the motion insisted Labor reverse seven decisions which will be detrimental to the education and wellbeing of students across the State.
“Among these decisions were the closure of six camp schools and Labor’s termination of Moora Residential College,” Ms Boydell said.
“Tellingly, all six regionally-based Labor MPs voted in favour of the cuts – along with the Perth-based Education Minister Sue Ellery.
“The vote of the six regional Labor MPs to support the systematic demolition of education in their electorates is a shocking indictment of where their priorities lie.
“I am sure electors in these country areas will not soon forget what has happened here today.”
Other education cuts which The Nationals called on the Government to reverse include Labor’s plan to take 20 per cent from the Agricultural Education Farm Provisions Trust, the slashing of the number of frontline regional education professionals and the reduction of the Boarding Away from Home Allowance.
“This Government has clearly broken its election commitment to provide equal education opportunities to all WA students regardless of their postcode,” Ms Boydell said.
“The Premier and Education Minister this week broke ground on a new $68 million inner-city high school. Meanwhile, regional education continues to suffer from the fallout of Labor’s savage cuts.
“The message to parents is clear: if you do not live within the boundary of the Perth metropolitan area this Labor Government doesn’t regard your child’s education as a priority.”
The Nationals WA education spokesperson Peter Rundle said the Government had caused significant stress and uncertainty in regional areas through their reckless dismantling of education institutions and programs.
“A torrent of mistrust has swept through regional communities since these cuts were announced,” Mr Rundle said.
“Day-by-day confidence in regional communities is being eroded by this Labor Government which appears hell-bent on ripping key services out of the bush to fund its Perth election commitments such as Metronet.”