Post NSW State Conference Media Release March 2019
Posted on March 23, 2019
DROUGHT - WHO IS LISTENING TO OUR BUSH KIDS?
Delegates from all over NSW attended the 47th Conference in Buronga, hosted by Wentworth Branch where it was well attended even in these tough times. One thing was absolutely clear to everyone present, these parents are passionate about their children getting a fair go and accessing an equitable education currently overshadowed by the impact the crippling drought is having on bush education as parents struggle with extreme hardships.
The conference floor heard from parents who are making heartbreaking decisions about their children’s education as a result of the devastating circumstances. Many families are juggling being out in the paddock and schooling their children via Distance Education as they can’t afford an In Home Care (IHC) educator. Other parents are driving 200km a day to take their preschooler to preschool simply because they, unlike their older siblings, aren’t allowed on the school bus. The School Drive Subsidy (SDS) and School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS) are only available for Kindergarten to Year 12 and in hard times, that makes accessing the recommended 600 hours of preschool an impossible task, time wise and financially.
The drought is really taking its toll on our rural kids and their families. Each day without rain is another day of unprecedented stock feeding, dust storms and water shortage, to which there is no foreseeable end.
Some drought affected families have had to make the heartbreaking financial decision not to send their children off to boarding school to access high school. Instead they will remain at home doing their high school via Distance Education with no access to sport or the varied opportunities that are offered while away at school. This is devastating for these children, they cannot just be kids, as there is no escaping what’s happening outside the house yard. Conference also heard that the dire situation facing many rural families is seriously affecting the mental health and wellbeing of rural kids, as they, like their parents, have to deal with the day to day devastation of drought.
“ICPA-NSW State Council thanks the Hon. Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Early Childhood and Aboriginal Affairs for attending conference and opening up the conference floor for questions and comments. State Council now has the task ahead of collating these motions and lobbying the NSW Government to act immediately so that bush kids have an equitable education during these tough times.” Claire Butler said.
“With the NSW election just around the corner, ICPA-NSW sincerely hopes that Politicians from all corners are listening to the very real plight of our members as they juggle educating their children and dealing with the ongoing, relentless drought. We have families really struggling out here and they need help”, ICPA-NSW President Claire Butler said.
Mrs Claire Butler
ICPA-NSW Publicity Officer:
Mrs Gabie Le Lievre