Setting the phone tower record straight
I am very proud of the work I have done with our electorate in getting funding for 42 new and upgraded mobile phone towers in the New England.
My greatest pleasure is getting funding for a service in remote areas such as Weabonga or Moonan Flats.
Next is the capacity to deliver on campaigns for a service such as the campaign from Kingstown.
This tower is now switched on and working.
Although I fight for the funding to go to an area I have no expertise, as would a technician, as to where the tower is built.
That is entirely up to the communications company and in Kingstown's case, Telstra.
They tell me they take into account where power is, where the underground phone line is and where the tower will cover the most people. It is their decision.
They negotiated with Sundown Pastoral before it was sold to Hancocks, owned by Mrs Rinehart.
I had no knowledge of any negotiations, I had no knowledge of the sale of Sundown to Hancocks to be quite frank, in fact I have not spoken to Mrs Rinehart for around two years.
I understand it is good yarn that there was a nefarious conspiracy but the problem is it's just not the truth.
Where the mobile phone tower ended up at Kingstown is entirely the remit of Telstra.
As for Labor having an inquiry into Kingstown's new mobile phone tower maybe they will take a submission from me inquiring as to why they never built one in our electorate.
New England MP
Casual teacher shortage
As a retired head teacher at a high school in Tamworth it has been apparent for several years that casual teacher shortages were getting worse. There are several reasons for this:
- New teachers have to develop a large portfolio to support their entry to NESA proficient teacher level with little support. Retired teachers have to undertake 100 hours of professional development to maintain accreditation. All casual teachers have to pay $100 PA to be registered
- Mandatory training in emergency care, anaphylaxis, child protection, asbestos awareness plus numerous other courses each year in their own time.
- Due to a lack of planning, there are extreme shortages in agriculture, maths, TAS and science learning areas. NSW Teachers Federation tried to warn officials about this several years, however they were dismissed as alarmist and some local politicians refused to meet with union members to discuss these issues.
- They are often phoned in the morning to come in for the day. On arrival they are given a timetable (often across several subject areas which are outside their expertise), class rolls and then hopefully (not always) the teacher has left some meaningful work. If not the faculty head teachers will often be briefing several casuals and setting suitable work if required, opening classrooms etc.
- Casuals also have to undertake playground supervision and sometimes bus supervision, sport.
- Many parents and students generally view casual teachers with disdain.
- There are better rewards from coaching or other employment using their qualifications.