Watts to fight for equal opportunity

STATE Parliamentary hopeful Lee Watts has vowed to take the fight to the NSW government on education issues.

Ms Watts visited Gloucester last Tuesday and spoke with local preschool director Elizabeth Price and Barrington P and C spokeswoman Trudy Schultz about funding and administration proposals which affect both centres.

“What I am seeing everywhere is that the government is creating blanket policies that might work in the city but consistently disadvantage smaller communities and it is time those smaller communities had a proper voice and were included,” she said.

“Gloucester Preschool, like other preschools in the Upper Hunter electorate, do not fit the government mould built for the cities. 

“They were promised no preschool would be disadvantaged but now Elizabeth and dedicated preschool teachers have to talk about lay-offs and closing half their service.

“Barrington Public School P and C are also battling a new policy change that will downgrade principal roles by stealth and 

centralise services which will actually mean teachers will spend less time in the classroom and more time travelling between schools; the people making these policies in the city do not understand the distance and dynamics involved with our rural schools.”

Ms Watts said equal opportunity was vital to regional centres like Gloucester.

“When I’m in Parliament I won’t have a portfolio to distract me from my community, so I will be spending my time meeting with the ministers making these policies and working with them to create policies that don’t disadvantage our communities,” she said.

“We need to improve our services and make sure policies are based on common sense advice from people in our community like Elizabeth Price and Trudy Schultz.”

While in Gloucester Ms Watts met with opponents of coal seam gas and the proposed Rocky Hill mine, staff at the Neighbourhood Centre and local Aboriginal elders. 

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