Nationals WA Member for the South West Colin Holt tabled petitions in Parliament yesterday with more than 3,000 signatures calling for the State Government to reverse its decision to close Camp Schools at Bridgetown and Pemberton.
“Over half the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes total population have come forward to fight this attack on regional education” Mr Holt said.
“Bridgetown caters for more than 2000 students a year, giving them the opportunity to experience farm activities, nature play and physical challenges that are not otherwise available to them in the normal school setting,” he said.
“Our South West Camp schools stimulate surrounding businesses and services, create employment for facility managers and staff and forge life skills for those who have the opportunity to visit them”.
Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman MLA says overwhelming public support for keeping Bridgetown Camp School open is another clear sign the Labor Government has botched its regional education funding cuts.
Mr Redman said Labor’s plans to close six camp schools as part of its suite of $64 million education cuts announced prior to Christmas had been met with strong resistance in the bush.
“These sites have a proud role helping WA students experience a slice of life in the bush and provide an important a rite of passage for many West Australians,” he said.
“The Premier and Education Minister are wriggling and squirming their way through their baseless decision to close camp schools.
“Originally calling for their closure, they now want to privatise them without any guarantee service levels will be maintained or access fees will remain affordable for camp users.”
Under questioning in Parliament today, the Premier and the Minister failed to outline how their ad-hoc plan to transfer facilities from the Education Department would impact children or families paying to use them.
Mr Redman went on to say the neither the Minister nor the Premier had visited regional camp schools in Bridgetown, Pemberton, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton or Dampier prior to or after announcing their closure.
Mr Redman will be at Warren District Agricultural Show in Manjimup this Saturday with volunteers collecting signatures for petitions to keep camp schools open.
A public rally is also being held on 20 April 2018 in Bunbury to protest camp school closures.
For media enquiries please contact:
Hon Colin Holt MLC on 9724 1181 or firstname.lastname@example.org