Penrith MP Stuart Ayres shunned calls by correctional centre, school and TAFE teachers and other unionists to hold a last-minute meeting with experienced, qualified gaol educators who face the axe under the Baird government’s plans to bring in unqualified “clerks” as teachers in NSW prisons.
The Liberal MP refused to meet disappointed teachers from the Emu Plains Correctional Centre in his electorate before the end of this year – but that will be too late as these teachers face redundancy in December.
The NSW government plans to abolish 138 of the 158 qualified teacher positions in gaols, re-classifying some of these jobs as clerical and opening up prison education to private providers.
MP Prue Car, who holds the adjacent electorate of Londonderry and is shadow minister for vocational education and assistant shadow minister for education, spoke prior to the rally, attended also by Penrith Valley Community Unions and Unions NSW, outside Mr Ayres office.
Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron pointed out that the Baird government was spending more money on capital works for gaols than on schools.
"NSW is currently incarcerating people in greater numbers than ever before and recidivism rates are skyrocketing. This is not the time to diminish the provision of quality education or to replace teaching delivery with clerks," Mr Mulheron told the rally.
MP Prue Car addresses the rally at Penrith
Federation President Maurie Mulheron answers questions at the rally