Federation members were joined by Public Sector Association and other union members in a well-attended protest meeting outside Long Bay Gaol on June 7 over proposed cuts to prison education programs that would see a large number of teachers lose their jobs at gaols around NSW.
The rally was addressed by Federation Deputy President Gary Zadkovich, Deputy Secretary (Post Schools) Maxine Sharkey, NSW Deputy Opposition Leader and Maroubra MP Michael Daley, Fairfield MP and shadow corrections minister Guy Zangari and Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey.
Mr Zangari said Corrections Minister David Elliott’s decision to cut education services at Long Bay and across NSW is disgraceful and dangerous to the community.
Mr Daley described the Baird government’s decision to contract out prison education services as one that will cost jobs and risk leaving prisoners unable to access quality education that they so desperately need.
Mr Zadkovich said the Baird government was waging an ideological war on public education as part of its attack on NSW public services.
Mr Morey pledged the support of Unions NSW to Federation’s campaign to keep highly qualified and experienced education professionals in NSW gaols.
Ms Sharkey told the rally the removal of the opportunity for those prisoners who need to learn to read and write and break the cycle of poverty and crime was an appalling decision for a government to make simply in order to cut costs.
She said the state government’s intention to put education in gaols out to tender would line the pockets of discredited private providers who have so successfully rorted the vocational education system.
Federation is calling on Minister Elliott to abandon this plan to tender out education services and reinstate quality prison education, staffed by qualified, experienced and full-time teachers.
Stewart Burkitt is President of the Corrective Services TA and Rob Long is a Post Schools Organiser