Protest to save school
THE State Government is putting “education down the drain” by cutting funding to the Landsdale Farm School and other Education Department facilities, says Bullsbrook resident Joanne Matthewson.
The mother-of-three will lead a second protest against the cuts entitled People Power at the farm school in Darch this Saturday at 10am to publicly showcase the importance of the affected facilities.
The protest comes after the 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.
“Cutting funding to these facilities is like washing valuable education down the drain,” Ms Matthewson said.
“Nobody will run Education Department camps and the Landsdale Farm School like they are now.”
Ms Matthewson’s comments came after the Education Department 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 expected later this year about which organisations would take over the management of each facility.
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 and a purpose,” she said.
“What the Government should do, instead of cutting the funding, once the kids with special needs finish their qualifications at Landsdale Farm School the Education Department should link them with smaller country towns not too far away where they can work in farms so they’re actually using their degree, rather than them ending up in sheltered workshops in concrete factories like they do now.”
Ms Matthewson said children in country towns, where there were not 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.”
Joanne Matthewson and baby Florence with Holly Clark and daughter Abigail (front), Charlie Pickering and Queenie Matthewson.