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Drummond / Davies spat, part 3

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Friday 30 October 1931, The Sydney Morning Herald

Ex-Minister's Defence.
ARMIDALE, Thursday.

Mr. D. H. Drummond, M.L.A., replying to the criticism of the Minister for Education of Mr Drummond’s administration of the Education Department, said “I thank Mr Davies for his unsolicited testimonial to the vigour with which the Bavln-Buttenshaw Government redeemed its election promises with respect to education, and his implied compliment to the manner in which it tackled the deplorable legacy of over-crowding and unfair staffing handed on to it by the previous Lang Ministry. According to official figures supplied to me when I took over from Mr Davies in 1927 there were no less than 1451 classes, comprising 38,741 children, without classrooms and occupying deplorable make shifts, while staff facilities were a disgrace. In addition it was estimated that there would be, during my three years of office, an annual increase in enrolments of 7000, or a total of 21,000. To cope with this astounding problem a total expenditure of £3,325,194 was required for the three year programme. Actually the amount spent by me totalled £2 404,734.

“The position was further complicated by the enrolments for the period exceeding the estimate by more than 6000 To cope with this situation the Bavin-Buttenshaw Government began to spend approximately £200,000 from the unemployed relief fund with the dual purpose of providing skilled tradesmen with work and the children and staff with accommodation. Since Mr Davies took office it is certain that not less than 8000 additional enrolments, requiring at least 200 additional teachers, have occurred. It is pertinent to ask what has been done to grapple with the situation except lament. What has his Government done from the 1/ in the £1 tax to provide teachers and children with decent accommodation and the tradesman with work? The plain fact is that neither children, teachers, workmen, nor public are getting a fair deal from this Government. It is ludicrous for Mr Davies to claim that loan moneys allocated to me were not provided for, as definite provision was made for them, together with amortisation in 15 years.

“I thank him for his further advertisement of the Armidale Teachers’ Training College, but would suggest that he reconcile his criticisms with the facts of the case. The Sydney college was notoriously overcrowded in 1927 when he resigned office. Since then school enrolments have increased by at least 30,000. This means an increase of 750 teachers, making no allowance for wastage. It is scarcely credible that Mr Davies means what he says when he claims that all the students required could be accommodated at the Sydney college.”

Written by macalba

May 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

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