Shadow Minister for Education, Nicole Manison, said today that the continuing instability in the CLP Government it is taking a devastating toll on critical services like Education.
“The Education Department in the Northern Territory has seen five ministers in the two and half years they’ve been in power,” Ms Manison said.
“This equates to almost a new Minister every school semester.
“The effect of this chaos results in paralysis for the Department.
“How can decisions be made, or direction taken when there is a revolving door of Education Ministers?
“We’ve, only weeks ago, seen the Former Minister for Education, Robyn Lambley, come in and try to clean up the mess of Global School Budgets left by the other Former Minister for Education, Peter Chandler, who was reeling from the budget cuts of the other Former Education Ministers, John Elferink and Robyn Lambley.
“Lambley, Elferink, Chandler, Lambley, Elferink - How long until Chandler gets his turn again? When will this chaos end?”
Ms Manison said the Education Department isn’t the only NT Government Department suffering from the effects of this CLP dysfunction.
“As soon as the ink dries on the Ministerial stationery, the CLP’s instability causes another round of musical chairs,” Ms Manison said.
“Major businesses and investors hardly know who to engage with in negotiations for projects. There is no guarantee that these Ministers or even the Chief Minister will be in the same position the next day.
“Sadly Territorians are the ones losing out while this epic power battle plays out.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
The Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today questioned whether Adam Giles has taken leave to avoid facing scrutiny over the handling of a spate of issues that have underpinned this month.
“Deputy Chief Minister, Peter Chandler, and new Education Minister, Robyn Lambley, have been left behind to clean up the CLP Government’s mess,” Ms Lawrie said.
“It is extraordinary that the Chief Minister could dump the responsibility of the travel agent scandal that prompted the resignation of Police Commissioner, John McRoberts, to his deputy. Can you imagine any other government leader not returning from leave to deal with such a major issue?
“With many questions about the scandal outstanding the Chief Minister Adam Giles has remained in hiding.
“Adding to the drama-packed January, this week’s $23 million backflip on Global School Budgets has happened while the Chief Minister, who is also Treasurer, is missing in action. The Government knew there was a shortfall last year, so why the delay until Adam Giles was away?
“With violent crime escalating across Darwin and Palmerston and some liquor outlets introducing their own supply reduction measures will the new Police Minister and Acting Chief Minister, Peter Chandler, increase police numbers by 120 as promised in the election but reneged on by Adam Giles?
“The EBA disputes between the Government and firefighters and paramedics should have been resolved before Christmas, but they are still dragging on so now is the chance for the Acting Chief Minister to clean up that mess too.
“Territorians are heartily fed up with the chaos of the Giles Government and a clean-up is long overdue. Restoring funding to education should be just the start.”
Shadow Minister for Education, Nicole Manison, today said Territory schools are struggling to put together 2015 budgets without making cuts under the CLP Government’s new global budgeting model.
“The Minister for Education, Peter Chandler said ‘No school will be worse off in 2015 as a result of the introduction of global school budgets’, but that doesn't appear to be the case,” Ms Manison said.
“Many schools are struggling to meet their budgets without making cuts in 2015.
“There are concerns being raised that schools have not had the entire teacher’s pay rise factored into their budgets and will have to find some of it elsewhere.
“There are widespread fears that schools will have to sacrifice more experienced teachers because they won’t be able to afford the wages.
“The CLP Government needs to guarantee to every school council around the Territory that additional funding will be provided to cover the teacher pay deal.
“They also need to guarantee that no school will be worse off in 2015 as Education Minister Peter Chandler has promised.
“Schools have been under immense pressure to submit their budget to the department at this busy time of the year.
“Schools and their councils should not be forced to sign off on budgets that will mean cuts for their schools,” Ms Manison said.
Opposition Shadow Minister for Education, Natasha Fyles, has slammed the latest CLP Government move to swamp our schools in budget pressures.
“Education and education budgets are the responsibility of Government,” Ms Fyles said.
“Parents sign up to join school councils to support their children’s education and academic outcomes, not manage a business.
“This cynical cost-shifting exercise by Education Minister, Peter Chandler, comes off the back of a $15 million cut to Education that schools are already struggling to grapple with. With fewer teachers and support staff schools are now being asked to carry the burden of the physical infrastructure – from repairs and maintenance to the myriad of minor new works that impact on a school’s operations.
“School council members have numerous questions about these global budgets and also what this change will mean for school councils.
“In other jurisdictions where these changes have occurred schools have been forced to employ less experienced teachers whose wages put less of a demand on their already stretched budget rather than a more experienced senior level teacher.
“Will education outcomes for students in the Territory be adversely affected when Territory schools are forced to make similar decisions?”
Ms Fyles said the CLP Government is ignoring the concerns of school councils and educators across the Territory by ramming through Global School Budgets for the 2015 school year.
“The Minister is ramming through this change through when next year’s schools budget allocation has been repeatedly delayed,” Ms Fyles said.
“Territorians need improved resources in Education and instead the CLP Government is pushing the responsibility onto Principals and parent school councils to manage in an already unbearable environment.
“This will push schools grappling with aging infrastructure to breaking point and give Principals less time to focus on quality teaching and learning and bury them in an administrative quagmire.
“How will this help our students? Where is the evidence that this is better for our schools?”
Ms Fyles asked whether schools would receive additional resources under the Global Schools Budget to meet CPI pressures.
“The accepted budget growth pressure in Education is five per cent, is this additional funding going to be factored in? What happens with significant infrastructure failure requiring repairs and maintenance?
“The CLP need to stop pursuing cost cutting at the expense of our children.”