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Labor Education Bill collapses under pressure from home school community and teachers

Apr 16, 2024

Queensland Education Minister Di Farmer announced on Monday that the proposed amendments to Student Disciplinary Absences (SDAs) and home-schooling regulation in Labor’s Education (General Provisions) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (EGPA Bill) would be withdrawn and not progressed ‘at this time’.

The announcement was welcome news to the home-schooling community and teachers across the state who lobbied strongly to oppose the EGPA Bill.

Hinchinbrook MP and Nick Dametto MP, a staunch supporter for home educators and teachers throughout the course of EGPA Bill expressed his surprise at the Minister’s announcement and his elation for those who opposed the changes and had worked hard to ensure that their voices were heard.

“From the first time I read the EGPA Bill I noticed critical flaws and potentially adverse effects on the Queensland education system which included mainstream and home education,” Mr Dametto said.

“As we continued through the committee process, it became very clear that consultation leading to the drafting of this bill had not been done with those it affected most. I am not sure who had the department or Labor’s ear when drafting this legislation, but their agendas were clear but wildly misguided.

“The decision to withdraw those controversial provisions relating to SDAs and home schooling is a demonstration of democracy at work. People power and lobbying from those who the EGPA Bill stood to directly impact, applied the required pressure for the Minister to stand up, take notice and make positive changes to the proposed legislation.

“We are told a Home School Advisory Group will be established and a review of the Home Education Unit within the Department of Education will be undertaken. Without being too negative, to me these are really reactionary measures when they should have been proactive steps taken prior to the drafting of the EGPA Bill.

“More needs to be done when it comes to SDAs. The Government needs to speak to schools, teachers and principals about what resourcing and tools would be beneficial to them to prevent student suspensions escalating in the first place.

“Should the Government engage in meaningful industry consultation before redrafting these provisions they may also come to realise that very little change is necessary, particularly in the home-schooling space. The children I have encountered in recent months who are being schooled at home seem to be progressing in leaps and bounds when it comes to their education.”

A total number of 22,933 petitioners signed a parliamentary petition sponsored by Mr Dametto with the petition closing today (16 April 2024). A total of 1,200 submissions were received by the Education, Employment, Training and Skills Committee during their consideration of the EGPA Bill with many speaking against the proposed changes.

 

Photo: Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto with Burdell resident and home educator, Heather Dixon.