Re­mote fam­i­lies face Bud­get pain

Pilbara News - - News - Tay­lar Amonini

Re­gional West Aus­tralian fam­i­lies may soon have to tighten their bud­gets as the State Govern­ment’s Board­ing Away from Home Al­lowances are set to de­crease next year.

The al­lowance was the lat­est vic­tim of the State’s con­tro­ver­sial bud­get, af­ter it was dis­cov­ered cuts to Roy­al­ties For Re­gion’s would mean a grad­ual de­crease of $628 over the next four years. Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Sue Ellery said the move was a re­sult of the “fi­nan­cial mess” the pre­vi­ous govern­ment had cre­ated.

“We have had to look at ev­ery sin­gle pro­gram ap­plied across ev­ery agency in West­ern Aus­tralia,” she said.

The al­lowance are pay­ments avail­able to re­gional and ru­ral fam­i­lies who have chil­dren who must at­tend board­ing schools or Govern­ment Res­i­den­tial Col­leges.

Af­ter be­ing in­creased to $2105 a stu­dent in 2010 due to an in­jec­tion of $785 from Roy­al­ties for Re­gions fund­ing, the BAHA al­lowance will be de­creased to $1948 in 2018, end­ing at $1477 in 2021.

Iso­lated Chil­dren’s Par­ent’s As­so­ci­a­tion of West­ern Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Tash Johns said the re­duc­tion would deeply im­pact fam­i­lies. “For many stu­dents, their clos­est high school is sev­eral hun­dred kilo­me­tres away and their only op­tion is to travel to Perth to at­tend schools,” she said.

“For Pil­bara stu­dents, there’s even less of an op­tion as they have no ac­cess to res­i­den­tial col­leges like other re­gional ar­eas.”

To send chil­dren to board­ing school, par­ents can pay be­tween $20,000 and $24,000 a year in WA, and for fam­i­lies with ac­cess to res­i­den­tial col­leges the cost is $13,000.

Pil­bara branch mem­ber Robin Pensini, whose fam­ily lives on Cheela Plains Sta­tion near Parabur­doo, said she was shocked to hear the news.

“In our ex­pe­ri­ence, ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren in the North West in an iso­lated area has been the most chal­leng­ing as­pect of rais­ing our chil­dren,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.