Government reverses residential college decision

The Northam Residential College is set to stay open. Photo: Eliza Wynn
The Northam Residential College is set to stay open. Photo: Eliza Wynn

The McGowan government has announced it will reverse its decision to close to the Northam Residential College and the School of the Air. 

The McGowan government has announced it will reverse its decision to close to the Northam Residential College and the School of the Air. 

The Premier tweeted the announcement on Thursday afternoon. 

In the string of tweets Mr McGowan said the government made a rushed decision ‘that left many Western Australians feeling anxious and distressed’.

Education Minister Sue Ellery also addressed the changes via twitter.

She apologised for the initial deicison calling the cuts ‘too far’.

“We got the balance wrong - while we have to make budget savings, we went too far on the impact on students,” she said.

“I listened to the concerns and I know people were feeling anxious and distressed.

“I am sorry for that.

“And I have decided that some of these measures had to be reversed.”

The fate of the Moora Residential College is still unknown.

Northam Shire President Chris Antonio said the closure reversal marked a great day for Northam.

“I am thankful for all the hard work of everyone speaking up against the cuts,” he said.

The reversal means that School of the Air will remain open in regional Western Australia and funding for the Gifted and Talented Program in schools will be maintained.

The announcement follows a meeting with the Northam Council and the member of the Agricultural Region, Rick Mazza, earlier in the day.

Mr Mazza met with Northam Shire President Chris Antonion and Vice-President Michael Ryan at council chambers to discuss the direct impact the closure would have had on the Northam and Wheatbelt community.

Northam Shire Vic President Michael Ryan, member for the Agricultural Region Rick Mazza and President Chris Antonio met at Council Chambers to discuss the closure of the Northam Residential College.

Northam Shire Vic President Michael Ryan, member for the Agricultural Region Rick Mazza and President Chris Antonio met at Council Chambers to discuss the closure of the Northam Residential College.

During the meeting the councilors said businesses in town saw potential in the college and were relying on it staying open for the survival of their business.

“People are saying they can tap into the residential college to build up their business,” Mr Ryan said. 

“It was just this year that St Josephs School offered boarding at the college.

“That was a big thing for them.

“They were relying on students being able to stay there.”