THE large proportion of young families and people with a tertiary education in the area means education and childcare are at the forefront of residents' consideration for our future government.
The Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW metropolitan vice-president Naomi Hammond said political policy needed to focus on appropriate funding that allowed schools to finance building repair projects and maintenance, as well as improving resources.
She said there should be a commitment to the Gonski initiative.
"And we definitely need more resources for students with special needs," Ms Hammond, from western Sydney, said.
She believes education policy should also look at incentives to keep kids in school for longer and is disappointed the school laptop program for years 9 to 12 was discontinued.
She said future policy based on technology needed to ensure students from lower-income families weren't unfairly disadvantaged.
She feared the "bring your own device" program — where students bring their own laptop or tablet to school — could do this, especially for families with several children.
"Politicians need to stop putting themselves first and start focusing on our kids," Ms Hammond said.
"Without that support we're not setting ourselves up for the best future possible."
Here's what Parramatta candidates said:
Julie Owens, Labor
Under the Better Schools Plan, schools in the electorate of Parramatta will receive an increase of 40% additional funding by 2019. On average each school will be $2 million better off. That means our 58 local schools can pay for additional teachers and student aides, and more specialist classes and tutoring.
We’re also expanding outside of school hours care to provide greater flexibility for parents and more places.
We have funded two Trade Training Centres at Granville Boys High School and Chapel Campus Merrylands to help students achieve trade qualifications.
Tony Abbott will not commit to the full six years of the Better School Plan nor the Gonski recommendation that funding go to those schools most in need.
Locally 15,950 children will also be worse off when Tony Abbott abolishes the Schoolkids Bonus which is helping families meet the cost of education.
Martin Zaiter, Liberal
The Coalition understands that our child care system should be more responsive to the needs of today’s families.
Labor rushed through their child care reforms that have seen costs increase. Child care costs have increased by 27 per cent over the past three years.
A Coalition government would also task the Productivity Commission with an inquiry into how the child care system can be made more flexible, affordable and accessible. Our approach will ease the financial burden placed on local child care centres and local families, without compromising the standard of care that must be provided.
The Coalition will continue current levels of school funding – which means certainty for school communities here in the Parramatta electorate.
The Coalition also has a plan to improve the quality of new school teachers who are just starting their careers, as well as improving the performance of current teachers.
Phil Bradley, The Greens
As a TAFE teacher and an active member of the NSW Teachers Federation, I have worked on education policy with TAFE and school teachers for nearly 30 years. I understand the challenges facing our education system, especially the need to significantly increase funding to TAFE, universities and schools with a high proportion of students with special needs. This is why I am keen for Parramatta's public schools to benefit from the $10 billion "Gonski funding" being promised by Federal Labor over the next 6 years, rather than the Coalition's short changed $2.8 billion over 4 years. Parramatta's students will benefit even more from the Greens' proposal to commit $2 billion more than Labor over the forward estimates and from our opposition to Labor's associated $2.3 billion of damaging university cuts. Furthermore, The Greens will increase university base funding per student by 10%. The University of Western Sydney will benefit greatly.
The TAFE system has suffered nearly twenty years of funding cuts to the point where TAFE NSW now suffers a government funding shortfall of about $1 billion every year, which students are expected to make up in enormously increased fees and charges! I therefore enthusiastically support The Greens' commitment to increase TAFE funding by $400 million per year to the benefit of Parramatta students at Granville, Baulkham Hills and other TAFEs.
The Greens will also target increased funding in Parramatta and elsewhere to provide all Australian families with access to high quality, affordable child care and early childhood education when and where needed. Care for children is the responsibility of society as a whole. The quality of pre-school education produces flow-on effects for the whole of children's lives and for the community. Young children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds should not start school behind their peers.
Miechele Williams, Democratic Labour Party
I firmly believe Parents in Parramatta want choice for their children. If elected I can help to provide them that choice. Parents are the primary educators of their children and are responsible for choosing the educational philosophy and environment which best suits their children's needs.
I propose per capita voucher funding for all primary and secondary schooling.
The parents of Parramatta children would receive a voucher reflecting the cost to the State of that child's education, at that child's year level and special needs. Each voucher would be redeemable at the parent's choice of education provider (be it state, private or faith-based, or a home school).
This safeguards the right of Parramatta parents to choose, without financial penalty, the kind of education and upbringing for their children.
I oppose the funding cuts being made by various state governments and I call for greater support for Granville TAFE. Every year 15,000 students pass through Granville TAFE and I believe strong TAFE strengthens Parramatta industries. Strong industries strengthen our economy.
As a mother I am acutely aware of the high cost and shortage of child care workers. I am proposing the establishment of "Child Care Cooperatives" in which parents and carers are trained and certified (Working with Children & Police Checks) to be "child carers" and 'on duty one day in five' in exchange for child care services.
With University of Western Sydney's location and importance of tertiary education to some many young students, I believe in retaining 'Start Up Scholarships' and making the following changes to the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth):
1. Raise the level of student income support payments to the Henderson poverty line;
2. Increase the parental means test threshold to the level of Average Weekly Earnings;
3. Lower the age of independence from 22 to 18; and
4. Reintroduce Centrelink counters at university campuses
Gary Loke, Palmer United Party
Being a former IT teacher, I understand the needs & importance of our schools, colleges and Universities. I have seen the schools in south western Sydney, where there are not proper air-conditioning facilities. Our schools need funding to recruit more teachers, to provide quality facilities to the students.
Hence, the Palmer United Party has committed $ 20 billion to our schools, which is 3 times more than what Labor & Liberals propose. This will also benefit the local schools in Parramatta electorate and will improve our school education system.
On the same context, we will also provide more funding for our Universities. The Labor govt. has significantly cut funding to our Universities, thus disadvantaging thousands of local talented students who aspire to take quality higher eduction in Universities. Our party understands that Universities are important for better future of our next generation. Hence, Palmer United Party is pledging more funding to local Universities including those in Parramatta electorate.
Palmer United Party always support the families and understand the issues faced by local families. Hence, we want to increase the childcare places in local childcare centres to accommodate more kids with more staff, and also increase the childcare subsidy to help the struggling families.
By increasing the childcare rebate currently available to local families, our party wants to take pressure off from the struggling families and help them to grow & prosper with less burdens on them.
The policies of Palmer United Party are family friendly and supportive of local educational needs.
Reg Dare, Socialist Alliance - Senate candidate
Socialist Alliance policy is that public education should be free up to tertiary level. We support funding schools as per the recommendations of the Gonski Review.
We will also boost funding for community based (not for profit) childcare.
Our overall aim is to make life better for ordinary working people, this includes efforts to take the financial pressure off families.