NSW Teachers Federation President, Maurie Mulheron said today:
“Federation condemns the NSW government’s slashing of $1.7 billion from the state education budget. We have today put in place a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the community outrage is harnessed in the interests of an ongoing campaign to reverse the government’s decision which is the biggest attack on public schools and TAFE colleges in decades.
“The Federation will organise unprecedented community protest action, including a Community Day of Action on a weekend during Term 4, 2012, in Sydney and in major regional centres.
“In the lead up to that day, Federation will work with the public to build the campaign. Local committees will organise parent and community meetings, attend local markets and fairs, lobby Members of Parliament, as well as work with parent and principal groups, professional organisations, other community groups and unions.
“Protests will be held in various locations, including outside the offices of state members of Parliament, near TAFE campuses, and in other highly visible public venues.
“Federation will initiate a state-wide television, radio and print and online advertising campaign to highlight the education cuts and promote the Community Day of Action. Additional on-line campaigning tools will be developed.”
The cuts confirm that devolution is the strategy to reduce recurrent expenditure on public education.
The former DEC general manager of finance, Ken Dixon, has stated that Department policies promoted as ‘school autonomy’ have been designed to deliver cost savings: ''The Local Schools, Local Decisions policy is just a formula to pull funding from schools over time. It is the same way they have structured the TAFE budgets.'' (SMH September 14, 2012)
This has already been demonstrated in the TAFE sector via the Resource Allocation Model of funding.
The Premier’s announcement on 11 September cuts 1800 teaching and non-teaching positions from state and regional offices, TAFE colleges and schools. In addition, TAFE course fees will be increased by 9.5%, thereby providing further obstacles to students seeking to further their education and gain skills that will help address the nationwide skills shortage.
With the Federal Government committed to establishing the Gonski funding model which proposes spending an additional $6.5 billion per year on schools across the nation in partnership with the states, the State Government is jeopardising the most significant change to the funding of schools in decades. As the Federal Government enters negotiations with state and territory leaders it is now clear the NSW Government intends to cut education by hundreds of millions of dollars in order to create a lower base from which to negotiate with the Federal Government.
Watch video Maurie Mulheron launching this next stage of the campaign (7 minutes):