SOTA Cuts contradict children’s right to education: Greens

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Greens spokesperson for Education Hon Alison Xamon MLC and Robin Chapple MLC for the Mining and Pastoral Region have again called on the Government to reverse its decision to cut $64 million from the State’s Education budget from 2019.

Ms Xamon MLC and Robin Chapple MLC said the decision to axe School of the Air (SOTA) and reallocate the functions of SOTA to The School of Isolated Distance Learning (SIDE) raised concerning questions.

“If it is anticipated that SIDE will take over functions of School of the Air, but are they being given any budget to do that?” Ms Xamon asked.

“Is it seriously being suggested that SIDE has been operating with surplus funds to spare?”

“It is a terrible decision to cut SOTA, which we know works very well for students and their families in remote areas of this huge state.

SOTAprovides an invaluable classroom environment and essential opportunity for socialisation for children already isolated.

“SOTAis an essential service for a State as vast as WA. The axing of SOTA is a miniscule amount of savings but a massive impact, the effects of which will be felt in my electorate for years”, said Mr Chapple

We both call on the Minister Sue Ellery to urgently reverse this truly appalling decision.

Clearly this is being driven by the inexcusable level of debt ($43.8 billion by 2020) left by the former Liberal/National Government.

But to cut these sorts of basic social and education services is not the way to go.

Mr Chapple said, “The money was there to maintain the service, by increasing the Gold Royalty ($400M) voted down by the Nationals and Liberals, but we still can get rid of the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) ($20M) and reinstating the Mining bond system which has already retired over $1 Billion back to industry leaving the state with a rehabilitation debt already of between $70M to a staggering $270M and this debt will only increase.”

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