Mr HOWARD (Ballarat East)— Education cuts could have dire consequences. These are not my words but those of the editor of the Ballarat Courier in its editorial last Thursday. The editorial states:
- The state government needs to think much more carefully about some of the cuts it plans to implement in its budgetary belt tightening.
- First we saw the TAFE rationalisation that brought a chorus of anger and dissent from the training sector, and particularly from regional areas that rely strongly on these courses as an avenue for self-improvement and careers for the younger generations.
- From 2015, it also aims to cut the education maintenance allowance to make up other shortfalls in its education budget. No doubt a team of efficient and officious accountants deftly struck a line through this line on the budget with very little thought for the human impact.
Many of the schools in my electorate are telling me they are very concerned about this cut. Unlike the Ballarat Courier’s editor, they know it did not just come from thoughtless accountants; it came as a direct result of the priorities of this state government. The editorial goes on to say:
- The dollar amounts are small but the real-life consequences for disadvantaged families are real and lasting. They also strike at the heart of the principle of universal education and opportunity, which is supposed to be one of this country’s cornerstones.
This is clearly a very serious matter. The editorial goes on to say:
- Education is the great foundation on which opportunity is built — —
The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.