WA Nats camp school concern
The WA Nationals have questioned how camp schools across the State will continue to provide the same level of services and be sustainable into the future, due to a significant cut in their budgets.
The State Government earlier this month announced Fairbridge WA would take over the operations of six camp schools across the State, including the camps in Bridgetown and Pemberton, with the operator set to receive $250,000 annually from the State Government to run the camps, which have to date been operated by the Department of Education.
But, Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman told the Times that without the DoE budget behind them, he could not understand how Fairbridge WA would be able to continue to provide the same number of camps or the same quality of services.
“The Government will remove funding of $3.8 million per year for the operation of six camp schools, and will then give Fairbridge $250,000 per year towards maintenance on three sites,” he said.
“This means there is no operational funding provided by the State Government at all.”
Education Minister Sue Ellery said Fairbridge WA accepted the terms of a proposal that included taking over the existing buildings, plant and equipment as they were, but requested the $250,000 annually to address a shortfall in their assessed operation and maintenance costs of facilities at Bridgetown, Dampier and Pemberton.
“This is a great result for the camp schools and for the community,” she said.
Mr Redman said that given all six camp schools ran at an operating deficit in 2017, there was “understandable fear”, and that their operation would not be sustainable.