Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

FAILING: Letter-writer Richard Davies, of Kangaroo Flat, says Australia's education institutions must use their money more wisely.
FAILING: Letter-writer Richard Davies, of Kangaroo Flat, says Australia's education institutions must use their money more wisely.

Money does not buy good education results

Given the mock anger from many surrounding an attempt to put all children receiving taxpayer funding for their education on a level playing field, I was reminded of Ivan Kitt’s letter (“Where does the money for advertising come from”, Bendigo Advertiser, April 28).

Ivan reminds us that whilst schools and universities cry poor there seems to be no shortage of funds for advertising or mega salaries for those running our education system.

Some of our vice chancellors receive up to $1.5 million per year with their deputies earning up to $500,000 per year.

Multiply this amount by the universities in each state, and then multiply it by the number of states and territories – plus the bureaucrats who administer the system – and it amounts to a massive sum.  

The nation was rightly outraged at the salary paid to a former head of Australia Post and whilst it was obscene by any standards, he turned the service around and improved the company's financial position.

Despite over $40 billion in extra spending our education system received in the last 10 years, our standards have gone backwards or at best stood still.

They have definitely not improved.

At the same time the amount spent on advertising by education institutions from early learning centres to universities in order to attract students seems to equal the amount spent by fast food outlets selling junk food.

It has been shown by the standards reached in countries that spend much less than us on education, but have higher standards, that money alone does not buy success.

How can the general population continue to believe these Oliver Twist cries for more please when they see this blatant waste of finite resources? 

It makes no difference if these cries come from a union looking for members, a political party making political points or vice-chancellors looking to expand their empire.

They cannot expect the taxpayer to continue to pour more good money after bad and it is time these facilities spent the most of money they get on educating not advertising or salaries.

We want quality to take precedence over quantity, not the other way around as it seems at the moment.

Richard Davies, Kangaroo Flat

Officers have power over the purse strings

Mayor Margaret O'Rourke's recent claim “Councillors calling shots” (Bendigo Advertiser, April 17) is a complete furphy.     

Our current nine councillors have no control over an enormous part of Bendigo council's costs, that include the staff budget – currently $61 million annually – and only have a limited say in finances.    

All major projects are officer driven and unelected, almost unaccountable, officers heavily influence all decision-making.

They also manage the information flow to councillors and are the key strategists.    

The problem is spending priorities of executive officers and special interest groups differ markedly to those of everyday residents.     

Sure the council makes the final decision at the public meetings, but exactly what input has each councillor had in the process?

In my opinion, limited, given the complexities involved.    

Whilst councillors carry out the governance role and set direction, it is the council officers who are still able to heavily impact upon the annual budget process.    

So let's put an end to the myth councillors are running the show.

Colin Carrington, Heathcote

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