The WA Government has announced tens of millions of dollars of sweeping education spending cuts that will see nearly 200 jobs axed and a range of services across the State either shut down or slashed, ABC News reports.
The $64 million cut to education funding from 2019 will affect regional and metropolitan areas, with many programs closed down entirely, funding cuts for some and fee hikes for others.
Six camp school sites run by the Education Department will be shut down and residential colleges in Moora and Northam will be closed.
The Schools of the Air will also be shut down, while Tuart College in Perth will close and Canning College will be made available only to overseas fee-paying students.
Landsdale Farm School will have its funding removed and fees for vacation swimming programs will more than double from $13.50 to $30 for a 10-day program.
The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) described the decision as devastating, saying it would have an enormous impact on people in regional WA.
“It’s really an absolutely brutal decision, it shows a total disregard to the situation of regional West Australian families,” ICPA vice president Liz Sudlow said.
“It’s just another nail in the coffin for regional WA in general.”
In a statement, the Government linked the decisions to State Parliament’s decision to block a move to increase the gold royalty rate earlier this year.
“I understand this process is a difficult and challenging time, particularly for staff, and our biggest priority is to minimise any impact on students,” Education Minister Sue Ellery said.
A spokeswoman for Ms Ellery said the 170 staff affected would be redeployed, although some were expected to accept a voluntary redundancy.
Grace and Aiden Tubby will not be able to continue their lessons through Carnarvon School of the Air.