Rally against school cuts

Rockingham Beach education assistant Ben New.
Rockingham Beach education assistant Ben New.

Dozens of support staff took part in a vocal rally on the steps of Parliament House on Tuesday, including Rockingham Beach Education Support Centre teacher assistant Ben New.

Despite the rain, more than 500 education assistants and school support staff from across WA took part in the rally at midday.

This was followed by another involving teachers, principals and community members at 4pm. Last month, the Government announced its controversial plans to axe 500 teaching jobs, including 150 education assistant roles, and plans to cut a further 30 per cent from the School Support program Resource Allocation (SSPRA) fund.

Mr New told the Courier that 90 per cent of education assistants from Rockingham Beach banded together to send a clear message to the Barnett Government that the announcement was ‘unfair to all staff and students’.

‘Everyone who attended the rally was extremely angry and disappointed, and wanted to voice their opinions,’ he said. ‘I attended the rally to personally let the Barnett Government know that we are not happy with the cuts.

‘These cuts are a clear indication that the Government has their priorities wrong and I think education should be one of the highest priorities in the budget.’

United Voice WA branch secretary said Carolyn Smith said Education Minister Peter Collier has tried to tell the people that he respected their passion but followed it with ‘cutting their jobs was fine’.

‘It is simply not good enough because education assistants do invaluable work in the classroom every single day yet the Premier cut their jobs to sort out his budget problems,’ she said.

Education workers across Perth on Tuesday announced they would continue to fight against job cuts until a fair deal was reached.