Bid to save the farm

Joondalup Times - - NEWS - Lau­ren Pi­lat

PEO­PLE an­gered by the State Gov­ern­ment’s move to stop fund­ing the Lands­dale Farm School took their fight to Par­lia­ment re­cently.

North Met­ro­pol­i­tan MLC Tjorn Sibma sub­mit­ted a pe­ti­tion with more than 5000 sig­na­tures de­mand­ing the Gov­ern­ment re­verse its de­ci­sion.

Mr Sibma said the de­ci­sion meant the fu­ture of the Darch fa­cil­ity and its Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion em­ploy­ees was un­cer­tain.

He es­ti­mated the fund­ing cut would be about $650,000 a year, which would equate to the salaries of about 10 staff mem­bers.

“They’re look­ing to save shy of $1.5 mil­lion over two years; the Gov­ern­ment is not go­ing to miss that,” Mr Sibma said.

The fund­ing cut was an­nounced by the depart­ment in De­cem­ber and is part of a plan to stop spend­ing $64 mil­lion on facilities such as res­i­den­tial col­leges in Moora and Northam and Tuart and Can­ning col­leges.

The Gov­ern­ment back­flipped on sev­eral de­ci­sions in Jan­uary, in­clud­ing the clo­sure of the Northam Res­i­den­tial Col­lege, re­in­stat­ing $23 mil­lion worth of ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing.

Lead pe­ti­tioner Mau­reen Gri­er­son said with­out depart­ment sup­port the farm school would not func­tion as suc­cess- fully as it had done for 30 years.

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion last month opened regis­tra­tions of in­ter­est to or­gan­i­sa­tions and busi­nesses will­ing to take over man­age­ment of the farm school.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Sue Ellery said the pri­or­ity was for the site to re­main as a com­mu­nity re­source, with ac­cess for stu­dents with dis­abil­ity be­ing part of any new ar­range­ment.

“The process for select­ing a provider who will con­tinue the Lands­dale Farm’s ser­vices, in­clud­ing for stu­dents with dis­abil­ity, is on­go­ing,” she said.

“All per­ma­nent staff will be sup­ported to se­cure po­si­tions within the depart­ment (and) fixed-term con­tracts will be hon­oured.”

Fam­ily Sup­port WA, Friends of Yel­lagonga, Haystack Cafe, North­ern District Herb So­ci­ety, and Wild­flower So­ci­ety hold li­cences to run ac­tiv­i­ties at the farm school.

Pe­ti­tion sig­na­to­ries with North Met­ro­pol­i­tan MLC Tjorn Sibma at Lands­dale Farm School.

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