Education Minister in Breach of Education Act on School Closures

Save Our Schools has accused the Tasmanian Greens Minister for Education, Nick McKim, of breaching his own Education Act and making a sham of consultation on school closures. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, called on the Minister to immediately publish impact statements on the school closures and extend the consultation period.

“The promised consultation is a sham and a farce. The Education Minister has ignored his legal obligation to publish impact statements on each proposed school closure and schools have been given only four weeks to make their case to remain open.

“The targeted school communities have been placed in an impossible position to defend their schools. They have virtually no time to respond and they are being denied legally required information to make their case. Clearly, the Minister is intent on ramming through the closures without genuine regard to the impact on local communities.”

Mr. Cobbold said that the Tasmanian Education Act 1994 requires the Education Minister to make available a statement on the likely educational, economic and social impact of the closure of any school as part of a consultation process. This is specified in Section 18 Part 3 of the Act:

(3) Before closing a State school permanently, the Minister is to consult with, if they exist, the school council and association of parents and friends of that school.
(4) In any consultation under subsection (3), the Minister is to make available a statement on the likely educational, economic and social impact of the closure of the State school.

“The Minister has failed to comply with paragraph (4). The hit-list of schools to be closed was announced without any accompanying impact statements being published.

“The Minister should immediately publish the required impact statement for each school and extend the consultation period until November to allow school communities time to absorb the statements, compile their own evidence and submit their case to remain open.”

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