Ayres denies further cuts

Penrith MP Stuart Ayres. File photo.
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Amidst a week of controversial cuts to the health and education budgets, MP for Penrith, Stuart Ayres, has flatly denied that further cuts will be made to transport and policing.

Defending the State Government’s move to axe $1.7 billion from the State’s education budget and a further $3 billion from the health portfolio, Mr Ayres stated that there would not be further cuts to transport and policing.

“Health and education make up roughly 50 per cent of the state budget and combined with transport and policing – is nearly 75 per cent of the total budget,” he said.

When asked by the Weekender if that meant the State Government would be announcing further cuts, Mr Ayres said flatly: “No”.

“But what we do want to see is a much more efficient transport – more bang for our buck… [but] if we take these areas out of the budget reform we won’t make savings… that is most of what we do,” he said.

In defence of the budget cuts to education, which include raising TAFE fees for course by 9.5 per cent and 800 jobs cut from the sector, Mr Ayres conceded that there will be an impact on the frontline services delivered by TAFE teachers.

“If these jobs come back, we would like to see them as frontline positions. These cuts are likely to have an impact on the delivery of these TAFE programs,” he said.

But Mr Ayres denied the cuts would be felt through schools, despite 400 jobs in the Department of
Education bureaucracy earmarked for removal.

“I don’t see a change in teaching, an impact at the school level… the ratio of bureaucrats will increase from one to 11 teachers to one bureaucrat for every 14 teachers,” he said.

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