People power saves WA school

Imagine your school and weekday home was to close down and having to travel hundreds of kilometres to and from school everyday.

That was the prospect Moora Residential College students were facing until the Federal Government’s announcement of a $8.7 million grant to save their school.

The rural college in WA’s Wheatbelt, which is home to 32 students, 11 employees and generates work for many local businesses was due to close at the end of the 2018 school year.

Through a passionate and relentless grassroots campaign organised by Moora locals, WA Premier Mark McGowan reversed the decision to close the school. The original decision was a part of a suite of educational budget cuts across the state.

Moora students protesting to keep their school open. Photo: WA Nationals

Hundreds of Moora Residents spray painted trucks, held protest rallies and protested the steps of WA’s Parliament House in hopes to preserve the education of students in Moora who would otherwise be forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to and from school each day.

“This is a hard-earned victory for people power that will warm the hearts of every regional West Australian,” WA Nationals Leader Mia Davies,”said.

The state Government accepted the capital grant and pledged to provide the necessary ongoing funding, of $500,000 per year, required to keep the school open for the unforeseeable future.

“Investing in the college facility reinforces the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to building a strong and accessible education sector in both regional and metropolitan communities,” Deputy PM Michael McCormack said in a statement.

The reversal of the decision has relieved pressure off Moora residents and reinforced the hopes of a bright future for the rural town, with education and medical facilities being a vital factor in attracting more residents to the area.

A week prior to the announcement the WA Nationals team met with the Moora community to discuss transforming the town into a reginal educational hub.

The Nationals committed to rebuilding the college and embarking on plans to for an integrated educational precinct in Moora, including a K-12 community college and a TAFE facility, if they succeed in the next state election.

“For Moora to survive and thrive into the future we need to ensure the town has the highest standard of educational facilities. We need to follow through on our plans,” Local MP Shane Love said.

Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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