President’s comment 19 July 2012

Cuts sound a new low note for Government

The Education Minister announced today that “he had submitted $22.8million in savings from his portfolio by reducing expenditure on Parent Awareness Strategies, cutting advertising and reducing research and policy programs”, in response to media reports (now confirmed) that he would cease funding the biennial Fanfare music festival for state school bands and orchestras.

The Fanfare cuts were explained in the expected way – “to make savings to repair Labor’s destructive legacy”. It’s an argument that is already tired and less than convincing, particularly when the axing of Fanfare apparently would save only $88,000.

Year after year, state schools and their P&Cs have worked incredibly hard to raise more funds for a huge range of extra-curricular activities including sports equipment and sports carnivals and debating competitions and homework clubs and cultural awareness celebrations and school plays and nutrition programs and................ the list goes on.  Included is raising funds to provide musical instruments to students who are not lucky enough to come from families who can afford their own, and to let those students showcase their musical talents and achievements to their local communities.

The Minister’s move to scrap a Government program, that goes some small way to supporting schools, students and their parents in musical education, is at best ignorant, and at worst insulting.

Perhaps the Minister doesn’t understand the great lengths schools and their communities go to in raising funds to supply anything other than the bare education minimum (which teachers often supply from their own pockets). He certainly hasn’t consulted with the QTU as the representative of 44,000 members, nor has his Department sought any meaningful input from practising teachers and principals.

Education funding has been cut to the bone in this state; Mr Langbroek, you can’t carve any fat from a bare bone.

Kevin Bates