Aboriginal education cuts misguided and short-sighted

Hon Alison Xamon MLC, Greens (WA) spokesperson for education, has condemned as misguided and short-sighted the Minister for Education’s decision to cut Aboriginal education staff from regional offices.

“It is completely unacceptable for Pilbara, Midwest, Wheatbelt, Goldfields and South West regional offices to be left without any Aboriginal education staff, and for only one Aboriginal staff member to be located in the Kimberley district office”, Ms Xamon said.

“The strong link between improved learning outcomes for Aboriginal students and the involvement of Aboriginal staff is well recognised.

“We know that these positions are vital to helping support Aboriginal children to attend, and to succeed in school, and these services are most effective when staff are located close to schools and students.

“The Government says that increasing school attendance and achievement of Aboriginal children is a priority – yet the Minister’s recent actions do not reflect this.

“These positions should remain located in the regions – they simply cannot be delivered through central office.

“Connection to land, family and culture is fundamental to closing the gap between Aboriginal students and non-Aboriginal students, and employing and retaining Aboriginal staff is also one of the key ways services can genuinely include local Aboriginal culture in their education."

Ms Xamon said the decision was yet another example of the Labor Government’s attack on regional education and it was unlikely to save any money in the long term.

“This decision will directly impact on students, and that is simply unacceptable,” she said.