The Western Australia government has done an about turn on education savings measures announced in December, following a backlash from families in rural and regional areas.
Schools of the Air was one of the programs to be cut in a bid to save $64 million in education cuts, but Premier Mark McGowan and Education Minister Sue Ellery have reversed that decision, saying the efforts to find savings had gone too far.
Other planned cuts that have been shelved are cuts to funding for the Gifted and Talented Program in Schools, which will be maintained, a proposed freeze on intake of Level 3 classroom teachers and the closure of accommodation at Northam Residential College.
A statement on January 11 said the reversals were an effort to strike the right balance between responsible financial management and quality education services.
“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,” Mr McGowan said.
“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.”
Ms Ellery said: “Finding savings in education is extremely difficult and in an effort to help fix the finances, we 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.”