THE State Government has reversed a number of its education saving measures in what it says is an effort to ‘strike the right balance between responsible financial management and quality education services’.
Last month, in order to deliver Budget savings quickly, the Government announced a range of measures to be implemented by the Department of Education from 2019 estimated to provide $64 million in savings across the forward estimates.
Schools of the Air will now remain open in regional WA, funding for gifted and talented programs will be maintained, intake into the Level 3 classroom teacher program will not be put on hold and accommodation at Northam Residential College will remain open.
The total saving to the Budget is now estimated to be about $41 million with the reversal of these measures.
The ‘Follow the Dream’ program will also continue to receive Department of Education funding.
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Premier Mark McGowan said his Government was committed to delivering responsible financial management to get the State’s finances back on track and would continue to look for savings across government.
“The former Liberal National Government wrecked the finances with their out of control spending and irresponsible budget management,” he said.
“Since taking office, we have announced a number of saving and revenue measures to ensure the burden of budget repair is shared across the community.
“Education is pulling its weight, but upon reflection we realise we took it too far when it comes to education services and we now need to get the balance right.
“As Premier, I will always lead a Government that governs in the interests of all West Australians.
“We won’t take our eye off the ball when it comes to the finances, but we won’t compromise the quality of education in the process.”
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said finding savings in education was “extremely difficult” and in an effort to fix finances admitted the Government “made a rushed decision that left many people feeling anxious and distressed”.
“We’ve listened to the concerns raised and took time to further analyse the impact of the savings measures announced both from a financial and education perspective,” she said.
“These changes announced today strike the right balance and ensure that every child receives a high-quality education, no matter where they live.
“I won’t shy away from finding savings and helping contribute to budget repair.”