Bullsbrook mum leads funding cut protest at Landsdale Farm School

 Jo Matthewson and baby Florence with Holly Clark and daughter Abigail (in green pants) , Queenie Matthewson (in pink pants) and Charlie Pickering. Photo: Bruce Hunt
Jo Matthewson and baby Florence with Holly Clark and daughter Abigail (in green pants) , Queenie Matthewson (in pink pants) and Charlie Pickering. Photo: Bruce Hunt

THE State Government is putting “education down the drain” by cutting funding to the Landsdale Farm School and other Department of Education facilities, says Bullsbrook resident Joanne Matthewson.

The mother-of-three will lead a second protest called “People Power” at the farm school in Darch this Saturday at 10am against the cuts.

The protest comes after the State Government last year announced millions of dollars in education cuts by 2019 to facilities including the residential college in Moora, Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre and Tuart and Canning colleges.

Ms Matthewson, who submitted a petition to parliament in June with about 2500 signatures demanding the decision be reversed, said taking the funding away and putting the education facilities up for private tender was a waste.

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“Cutting funding to these facilities is like washing valuable education down the drain,” she said.

“Nobody will run education department camps and the Landsdale Farm School like they are now.”

Ms Matthewson’s comments came after the Department of Education advertised the farm school and six campsites for private tender earlier this year. Applications closed in April and are now under review, with a decision about which organisations will take over the management of each facility expected later this year.

MORE: Bullsbrook mum on a mission to save Landsdale Farm School

Ms Matthewson, a Disability Services Commission support worker, said these facilities were important education assets to the community and needed to remain as they were.

“The Landsdale Farm School gives kids, especially children with disabilities, an education around agriculture,” she said.

“Once the kids with special needs finish their qualifications at Landsdale Farm School, the Education Department should link them with country towns not too far away where they can work in farms so they’re actually using their degree.”

Ms Matthewson then proposed that the children in the country towns, where there wasn’t too many job opportunities, could get support worker qualifications to assist those children with special needs.

“You can get those kids with disabilities living in shared housing with support workers which is good for parents because their child who they thought was never going to have much of a future can live independently,” she said.

“It ticks so many boxes, it ticks the National Disability Insurance Scheme box, disability services, agriculture needs, and education while improving the lives of so many.

“That’s why funding shouldn’t be cut because these facilities offer so much and can even have more of a knock-on effect in helping solve problems faced by many communities, including those in small country towns.”