Cost cuts hit Indigenous education officers
Money-saving measures have hit hard in Western Australian Indigenous education, with more than 100 full-time Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AIEO) asking what the state government intends to do without them.
The AIEO roles were removed as part of sweeping changes meant to save $100 million. The employment of specialist education officers across largely remote schools had cost $2.3 million.
Several of axed Aboriginal authorities have appeal to the WA Education Minister Peter Collier, arguing many students will suffer.
A spokesperson from WA United Voice said Mr Collier seemed resolute in cutting the important roles, despite claiming strong support for Indigenous education.
“He said there was a big commitment to Aboriginal education and there'd be important announcement in coming months,” United Voice’s Carolyn Smith said.
“But when they asked directly if he'd re-employ Aboriginal officers and have Aboriginal workers in the classrooms with the kids, he refused to give that commitment.
“Our members are absolutely determined they won't accept the cuts in education,” she said.
“There may be industrial action, but there's certainly going to be a whole heap of community and political action.
“The Barnett Government cannot expect to do these kinds of deep cuts to school funding and not have a backlash in the electorate.”