500 Jobs to be cut from Education

What they promised

I make it very clear that there are no cuts, proposed or planned, for staffing within the public sector—none at all

- Colin Barnett, Hansard, 27 September 2012

What they say now

Central and regional office positions and education assistant reductions where positions can no longer be justified

- Ministerial Media Statement, 20 August 2013

21 Aug 2013 - Despite the Education Minster explicitly ruling out cuts, the Barnett Government has announced it will abolish 500 jobs from the Education Department as part of an overhaul of public school funding in WA.

The Barnett Government has announced its decision to abolish 500 jobs from the Education Department as part of an overhaul of public school funding in WA. 

When announcing the decision to implement the findings of the Teese Report that Barnett Government has announced that 500 jobs would be abolished.  Of these, 350 will be education assistants who support children with special needs and 150 workers from regional and central office.  There will also be a freeze on hiring teachers.

The new system is based on the findings of the Teese Report.  The Teese report was concluded in February 2012 but was not released until 3 August 2013, after the State election. 

This announcement has come despite public comments by the Minster on 16 August 2013 on the Paul Murray show on 6PR radio ruling out cuts.   

Paul Murray – ‘So are you telling me there will not be voluntary or involuntary redundancies in your portfolio in this term of government?’

Peter Collier – ‘Well there is absolutely no allocation for it whatsoever and we have got no indication and we’ve got no desire, we’ve got no intent to move down that path Paul’. West Australian online story

It is also in stark contrast to the commitments made by Colin Barnett prior to the election making it clear ‘that there are no cuts, proposed or planned, for staffing within the public sector—none at all’.  Parliamentary Hansard 27 September 2012 

It also comes on top of an announcement by the Premier on 13 June 2013 abolishing a further 1,200 public sector positions. See details of this in ‘Public Sector Jobs’.   

Further, on 7 August 2013, the day before the State Budget was handed down, Colin Barnett was asked by Geoff Hutchinson on ABC radio whether there would be any more job cuts in the 2013-14 Budget.  The Premier replied no. 

It has been confirmed that the 500 jobs going in education are on top of the 1,200 positions, clearly contradicting the Premiers comments just 13 days earlier.   

It should also be noted that the Teese report itself does not recommend the abolition of these positions.  The Minster Peter Collier indicated that the ‘new model goes hand in hand with reforms to improve efficiency of WA’s public education system, which include staff reductions where positions could no longer be justified’. 20 August Ministerial Media Statement 

Update: Information provided to Parliament indicates that in addition to the original 500 positions to be axed, a further 342 teachers and 94 Aboriginal Islander Education Officer positions will be axed.  Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations 


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