Federal Member for Bean
By David Smith MP | Federal Member for Bean
26 August 2020
STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Norfolk Island deserve certainty for provision of health and education services
Deputy Speaker. While it only takes me 10 minutes to drive to parliament house the furthest corner of the Bean electorate is 1800 kms away – Norfolk Island. As you can imagine the pandemic challenges have provided a layer of additional isolation and economic uncertainty to the Norfolk community but it is a strong community that works together.
The issue of provision of education and health services – currently contracted to the NSW Government – is of critical concern to the Norfolk community. The existing contracts run out in July 2021 and the NSW Government has for some time indicated it is withdrawing its services. No providers have been agreed.
In correspondence to the Minister and in meetings late last year 2019 I raised concerns that uncertainty around the provision of education services would have an impact on the students and community well before the 2021 deadline. Since then there have been no updates from the Minister – despite the rising anxiety amongst students, parents and staff alike.
A year 11 student, wrote to me noting that “all of my teachers that stay next year have been offered a six month contract” and that the “uncertainty in the school, is affecting me, my family, my friends. Asking for HELP.”
The situation has now reached crunch time for both education and health services and we need to see leadership from the Government. The teaching staff have been put in an awful situation and may vote with their feet. This would be devastating for the students, school and community and could have been avoided if the Government had valued the education needs of this community properly.
Authorised by David Smith, Australian Labor Party, Canberra