MP welcomes Canberra camp funding for Kangaroo Island students
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a $180 subsidy for Kangaroo Island students to cover the costs of a school trip to Canberra.
“The significant travelling costs faced by island students when visiting our nation’s capital is an issue I have raised many times with the Government since taking office in 2016,” Rebekha said.
“I am really pleased that the Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham has taken heed of my letters and listened to my personal advocacy and announced this $180 subsidy.
“Before this announcement island students only received a $60 subsidy, the same as a student living in Adelaide, a disparity that could not be ignored.
“In fact, last year I was delighted to welcome Tony Smith, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to Kangaroo Island where he attended a fundraiser to raise money so Kangaroo Island Community Education could send their first ever group of students to Canberra.”
The Government has recently been conducting a review of its Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER) program.
PACER provides between $20 and $260 per student to schools outside Canberra to subsidise the traditional civics education trip to the national capital.
The program contributes more than $46 million in rebates.
“I was really pleased to receive a letter from Senator Birmingham in 2016 where he noted that the PACER review would look ‘specifically’ at the special circumstances facing Kangaroo Island students wanting to visit Canberra,” Ms Sharkie said.
“Island students have no choice but to take a ferry trip to reach the mainland and therefore their journey is longer and more expensive than their mainland counterparts and the rebate they received was inequitable.
“Tasmanian students receive an extra rebate for air and sea travel because of their geographical circumstances and I believed the same consideration should be applied to Kangaroo Island.
“I realise the Government cannot make adjustments for every individual school in South Australia due to special circumstances but Kangaroo Island’s extra transport costs are based on geography and cannot be avoided.”
More than 19,000 schools have visited Canberra since 2006.
Caption: Pictured below is a scanned copy of the letter sent to Rebekha from the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham in 2016 following Rebekha's advocacy to increase the PACER subsidy for Kangaroo Island students.