Regional pressure

Public school communities rallied in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie with the message for local State MPs: reverse the $1.6 billion cuts to public education and signup for Gonski.

Ian Watson
Organiser

Public education advocates rallying in Coffs Harbour received a boost with a visit from NSW Greens MP John Kaye.

Public school communities rallied in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie with the message for local State MPs: reverse the $1.6 billion cuts to public education and signup for Gonski.

In Coffs Harbour, teachers and parents rallied outside the Department of Education and Communities regional office to draw attention to the reduced support for schools in the wake of the O’Farrell Government’s $1.6 billion cuts to public education and the subsequent restructure of the Department. Parents of children with special needs also put forward their concerns about Every Student, Every School, which has reduced support for students who no longer attract targeted funding.

The event coincided with NSW Greens MP John Kaye’s visit to the area, so the issues received substantial media coverage. The success of the rally was largely due to the close working relationship between teachers and the activist parent group, Parents Pack a Punch.

Further south, a delegation representing teachers and principals from Port Macquarie met with local State MP Leslie Williams while another dozen activists rallied outside the office.

The delegation spoke to Ms Williams about the impact funding cuts were having on schools in Port Macquarie and surrounding areas. They also stressed the importance of supporting the Gonski recommendations and urged Ms Williams to pick-up the phone and lobby Premier O’Farrell on behalf of public schools in her electorate.