Bid to save the farm
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.