Senator Perin Davey has welcomed today’s announcement that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) will consider a nationally consistent approach on border restrictions for boarding school students.
The moves comes after Minister for Regionalisation, Regional communications and Regional Education, Senator Bridget McKenzie, along with Senator Davey, hosted a Roundtable on the issue last month.
The meeting was attended by key boarding school and isolated student representative bodies and resulted in the development of a consistent set of principles that formed the basis for the new draft code.
Senator Davey has been a vocal advocate for a commonsense approach to allow some of the country’s most isolated families the ability to let their children, who board interstate, travel to and from school for holidays.
“For the last 18 months families have been faced with border restrictions and lockdowns and changing rules for their students, sifting through red-tape to apply for exemptions that often were not granted. It has been very stressful,” Senator Davey said.
“I have spoken to and tried to assist many families on this issue. Some battle on and start from scratch with each holiday break. Unfortunately, for others the stress is just too much and the children have decided they can’t continue with their education in these circumstances.
“I have worked with the Isolated Children’s Parents Association, I have raised the issue with the Prime Minister and in Federal Parliament and have done what I could to help families, however at the end of the day, unfortunately it is the States who have the power, and who need to agree to a code.
“Since she took on the regional education portfolio, I have been working very closely with Minister McKenzie because we are both all too aware of the stress that the current arrangements have had on regional families with children in boarding schools.”
The Draft Code sets out principles for jurisdictions to consider when establishing their border crossing directions to provide consistent rules so families will know what is expected of them when their children travel between their homes and schools.
The Draft Code was presented to the Federal, State and Territory Education Ministers last week, who have now agreed to include it in their agenda for the next AHPPC meeting.
“I look forward to hearing more on the AHPPC’s consideration of this matter, and the establishment of a clear, compassionate and practical approach regarding arrangements for boarding school students,” Senator Davey said.