The Nationals WA require just four more votes in order to pass an amendment in State Parliament which could see all of the McGowan Government’s remaining education cuts reversed.
Speaking today at the latest education cuts rally at Parliament, Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge revealed the Liberal Party had committed support for The Nationals’ amendment which would see part proceeds from Labor’s proposed foreign buyers tax used to reverse the rest of the education cuts.
The outstanding cuts include Labor’s raid on the Agricultural Education Farm Provisions Trust, the decision to outsource management of six camp schools and Landsdale Farm School to a private operator and the closure of the Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre.
The Nationals also want Labor’s cuts to the Boarding Away from Home Allowance and community kindergartens reversed.
“We now have 14 votes, including the four Nationals MPs and nine Liberals in the Legislative Council along with the Shooters and Fishers’ Rick Mazza,” Mr Aldridge said.
“I thank the Liberals and Mr Mazza for their commitment to reversing Labor’s mean education cuts but, unfortunately, 14 votes won’t be enough.
“I urge the members of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, The Greens and the solitary Liberal Democrat to now walk the talk. We require just four more votes to get this amendment passed.
“For months now we’ve heard MPs from these parties decry Labor’s education cuts. The time for pontification is over. This is their chance to make a difference. It’s time to stand up and be counted.”
Leader Mia Davies said parties and individual MPs who did not back The Nationals’ amendment would have to explain to their constituents why they support culling education services and funding.
“One Nation claim to be a party representing ordinary Australians. I’m certain most ordinary West Australians would view Labor’s cuts to education facilities and programs across the State as unfair,” Ms Davies said.
“It is not an unreasonable ask to support our amendment. The McGowan Government’s new foreign buyers tax is predicted to raise more than $120 million over the next few years – only $23 million is required to freeze TAFE fees, leaving $100 million to spare.
“To reverse the remaining education cuts and spare our communities more heartache we propose a percentage of this $100 million be put aside for education.”
Education spokesperson Peter Rundle laid the blame for the chaos enveloping the education portfolio squarely at the feet of the Minister Sue Ellery.
“This is a Minister that is now defined by her blunders and backflips,” he said. “She is not up to the job and should resign.”