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Association Spotlight: Sutherland
Number of members: 1723
President: Scott Parisi
Secretary: Wendy de Vos
Our meetings We meet twice a term on Wednesday afternoons at Tradies Gymea. In recent years, some association stalwarts have retired but new generations of activists are rising to advocate for our students and profession. As a large association, Sutherland TA has appointed many members to the executive to ensure specialised knowledge in many aspects of Federation’s work. Roles such as Aboriginal education contact, peace contact, women’s contact, special education contact and casual and temporary contact have enabled members to take responsibility for their area of passion and broaden the Association’s capacity to keep members updated.
Our community Sutherland TA encompasses the Sutherland Shire area in Sydney’s south. It is bounded by Georges River to the north, the Royal National Park to the south, Holsworthy Barracks to the west, and the east coast. The first landing site of Captain James Cook in Kurnell, from 1770, is the easternmost point of the Association and is often referred to as “the birthplace of Modern Australia”. Evidence of Aboriginal settlement by the Dharawal people dates back more than 80,000 years. Following World War II, parcels of land in the Cronulla area were provided to returned servicemen, which turned the area into a suburb of Sydney.
Our challenges Due to continued growth of population in the area over the past 50 years, many schools have ageing sites. The Federal MP for Cook – which covers the eastern side of the Ass ociation – is Prime Minister Scott Morrison and funds for site maintenance are lacking. Gymea and Loftus TAFEs have been hit hard in recent years and, as a result, many students experience reduced access to courses in senior years.
Our focus Providing localised training to Sutherland TA members and ensuring permanent positions are created when student enrolments increase. With a spike in the number of large apartment blocks built in the region in the past five years, the changing density of residents affects some schools more than others.
Our achievements The Association was called on at the last minute to deliver the Fair Funding Now! open letter to the Prime Minister last September. After more than 10,000 supporters had signed the letter, to our surprise Mr Morrison procured the top job and our Association unexpectedly gained a Prime Minister.
It was good fortune the AEU had simply addressed the letter to the Prime Minister and not used names!
Our events The Association hosted a Centenary of Federation dinner that was well attended by our retired members. It was a lovely night for new and current activists to meet these people and share stories.