Improving Education for all Australians

expanding schools

Our local area desperately needs a new primary school to address overcrowding. We must also prioritise resourcing existing public schools and restore TAFE funding. A strong public education system is key to investing in the next generation and building a fair, successful and cohesive society.

The Inner West has experienced an unprecedented baby boom in recent years and we are in urgent need of a plan to address this ongoing growth. Population density of children aged 0-4 in the Balmain electorate is 5 times higher than the state-wide average. 

This density will only increase. In the decade to 2011, there was a 26% growth in the number of children aged 0-14, compared to 5% growth Sydney-wide.   

Locally, this means our schools are overcrowded and our children do not have the funding, resources and learning space they need.

The Greens have a plan to increase local school space now, starting with Sydney Secondary School's Leichhardt Campus.

Sydney Secondary College’s Leichhardt campus enrolments have increased by 70% over the past 11 years – from 1200 students to 2100. 

We're calling on the State government to hand over adjacent disused land for the use of the school.


sugar in schools

Jamie has questioned the Minister for Education about whether the school guidelines would be updated to reflect dietary guidelines on sugar content. You can read his response HERE 

In short, the Minister said his department was working on it. We'll certainly be pursuing this issue to ensure the Minister follows through on his promise so our kids are given the best chance possible to eat healthily.

Added sugars are a major contributor to obesity and tooth decay. The updated 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines amended the approach to sugar recommending the limited intake of food and drink with added sugars.

Yet, the sorely out-dated Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Canteen Menu Planning Guide still allows for children to consume “moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars”.

Canteen foods are restricted based on their fat and sodium content – but not sugar.

Under the Guide – last revised in 2006 – sugary food items such as chocolate milk, liquid breakfast drinks, ice creams and muffins are still routinely available in canteens. Many of these items are marketed as healthy and “canteen-friendly” with a “green light” because they contain low levels of fat and sodium.

The Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Canteen Menu Planning Guide, which is mandatory for schools to follow, must be updated to reflect these limits on sugar intake.

Sample canteen offerings in Sydney schools with a green light

Sanitarium Up & Go Choc Ice 350 ml = 6.65 tsp sugar

Coco Pops Chocolately Liquid Breakfast 250ml = 6.12 tsp sugar

Nestle Milo Scoop Shake 240 ml = 6.47 tsp sugar

Icy Pole Raspberry flavour 79g  = 2.9 tsp sugar

Oak Light Chocolate Milk 300 ml = 7.4 tsp sugar

Banana bread, one slice = 2.93 tsp sugar

Some sobering facts:

  • Most children’s intake of vegetables, fruit, grain (cereal) foods and milk, yoghurt and cheese products and alternatives is below recommended levels.
  • Australia’s 1995 National Nutrition Survey showed that energy-dense, nutrient-poor “extra foods” contributed 41% of the total daily energy intake of 2-18 year olds.
  • The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing and is expected to become Australia’s leading cause of disease burden by 2023.

save TAFE

After years of cost cutting, rising fees, privatised training and job losses, TAFE needs an urgent plan to safeguard its future. TAFE is being pushed to the brink by the current state Coalition government’s budget cuts and privatisation agenda. Combined with years of neglect under Labor, NSW is now looking at a future without TAFE.

Jamie will continue to fight for TAFE, and to call on the government to restore funding and reduce the pressure on students and teachers. TAFE students are being asked to pay more in order to receive less. Class sizes will rise, the ranges of courses will be reduced and time to help individual students will all but disappear. Cuts to fine arts courses will devastate the creative and culturally vibrant art scene of the Inner West.

We recognise the contribution of students, teachers, and the following organisations and their members in defending and supporting TAFE and supporting the values that it embodies: the New South Wales Teachers Federation, the Australian Education Union and the Public Service Association, the Community and Public Sector Union, and the TAFE Community Alliance.

Sydney College of Arts

After the announcement by the University of Sydney that the Sydney College of Arts will move to the main Sydney University campus rather than going ahead with its planned merger with UNSW Art and Design, we're calling on the University to ensure it maintains the unique art practice offered at the SCA.

The decision  that the merger will not proceed is a testament to the strength of the community campaign – a merger would have meant the destruction of visual arts at the University of Sydney, and an end to the unique practice undertaken at SCA.

The merger was always unfeasible because of the clash between the philosophies of the two schools.  The University of Sydney clearly underestimated this incompatibility. If the University had properly consulted staff and students, they would have discovered the incompatibility of the arts practices at the two schools.

By abandoning the merger they have finally acknowledged that it would have been folly to proceed.

It was always unlikely that UNSW would undertake a full curriculum review in order to accommodate the merger, as they had recently completed their own curriculum review.

The decision by the University now makes it imperative that the government swiftly establishes a trust for Callan Park and implements the Callan Park Master Plan.“While we welcome the decision not to merge, it’s important that the University of Sydney commits to providing proper studio space and facilities to allow for the specific needs of students studying mediums such as glass blowing or sculpture at SCA.

Studio based practice is at the heart of the Sydney College of Arts and is a key factor that makes it unique. It would be very disappointing if the SCA was retained at the University of Sydney but studio based practice was abandoned.  


Jamie has a long-term plan to address the explosion in demand for school places in the Balmain electorate as the population grows, including building a new local primary school.

Jamie is working for families, and will:

  • Ensure children can attend local schools
  • Increase local childcare places
  • Secure investment in a world-class education system
  • Continue his campaign for a new primary school in Ultimo


Education_infographic_120914.jpgInner city Sydney is facing major challenges in primary and secondary schools, with surging enrolments putting a strain on school resources.

Four education ministers in ten years – Labor’s Carmel Tebbutt, John Della Bosca and Verity Firth, and currently, the Coalition’s Adrian Piccoli – have each failed to plan for the increase in our population

A 2014 Sydney Morning Herald report revealed that the NSW public school system is facing a $7 billion shortfall unless the government doubles its spending over the next two decades. To meet demand, over 220 new public schools will have to be built in the next 20 years.

In the electorate of Balmain alone, there is a projected increase of 1000 students over the next five years. 

Balmain and Blackwattle campuses of Sydney Secondary College are at 100 per cent capacity, along with several public primary schools. Parents are facing the agonising choice of separating siblings because public primary schools in the Balmain electorate are shrinking boundaries and limiting intake. The lack of government planning is making life harder for families. 

The data is very clear, and has been for too long. We need new public high school capacity on both sides of the Anzac Bridge. 


Investment Greater investment in education. Our children need quality spaces to learn and play.

Keep siblings together We need a family-friendly sibling policy in schools, so that brothers and sisters are not separated. Siblings are being forced into different schools because of the government's failure to plan for growth.

Create more high school spaces In a few short years, there will be an extreme squeeze on high school enrolments. We must create more high school spaces. As yet, no inner city high school exists.

Out of school hours (OOSH) care Jamie has called for all new schools to have OOSH provisions on site.

Increase accessible childcare More affordable, quality childcare must be available for parents. Funding must be increased to address this critical issue for families.

After School Care Alliance Jamie is a founding member of Leichhardt Council's After School Care Alliance, formed to work on solutions for Sydney's after school care crisis. He is strong a supporter of the Alliance's policy platform, which includes a call for for out of school hours care to be addressed in the design of all new primary schools and planned extensions to existing schools.


Close consultation with P&Cs  Jamie has worked extensively with local P&C groups to plan for the surging growth in local schools, and address the concerns and issues facing parents and teachers in the Balmain electorate.

Save TAFE legislation Following the government's plan to cut funding from TAFE, Jamie introduced legislation to protect these vital skills and education centres from funding cuts, and ensure fees are not prohibitively expensive. 

Leadership program Working with local schools, Jamie introduced a school leadership program for local school captains and vice captains. This gives our youth an opportunity to contribute to public discourse on education.

Extra space for Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt campus enrolments have increased by 70% over the past 11 years, from 1200 to 2100 students. Jamie is driving the campaign to extend the school over adjacent disused land. You can sign his petition here.

Family-friendly policies Jamie has called for the state government to address boundary issues and create a family-friendly sibling policy. He has been working hard with parents and schools to ensure the state government addresses these issues.

Funding for schools Over the years, Jamie has secured thousands of dollars in funding for school initiatives through the community building partnerships grants programme.



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