Peta Holmes, local High School History teacher and a vocal advocate for special needs and disabilities resourcing, has been selected as the Greens’ candidate for East Ward.
When Penrith South’s Early Intervention class was cancelled without consultation at the end of 2009, Peta started a campaign to reverse the decision that had unnecessarily disadvantaged fifty already vulnerable children.
More recently, Peta has spoken out about the negative impact that the State Government’s ‘Every School, Every Student’ policy will have on special needs education in NSW. Meeting with members of the local media outside Braddock Public School alongside Greens MP John Kaye, she revealed that the school was set to lose $95,000 in funding and was one of 272 schools in NSW that would be impacted in this manner.
The mother of four sons, two of whom have an autism spectrum disorder, Peta knows how important adequate support and early intervention are in providing special needs children with the best possible chance of living a full and rewarding life.
“Not only does it mean a better quality of life for these children at a time in their lives when intervention is most important, but it will also mean that less taxpayer dollars will have to go into fixing the Government’s mistakes in the future.”
Peta also insists that local council has an important role to play in making Penrith an inclusive place. For example, she will be pushing for Council to install liberty swings in public parks, arguing that “kids in wheelchairs should be able to play at the park as well.”
Peta believes that it’s important for Penrith’s residents to look to the future, without repeating the mistakes of the past. This means not only supporting our children, but working to make Penrith a more inclusive and sustainable area for all of its residents.
“In recent years we’ve seen both major parties fail to respond to the needs of our area. There’s a real disconnect between how they think Western Sydney should work and how we live our actual lives.
“We need to think of Penrith as a developing city in and of itself, not just a place we live so we can go and work in the city.
“We need to push back against obvious failures in planning and unsustainable development, while working to turn Penrith into a place that we can be even more proud to live in.”
Peta, who believes that Penrith should be developed with ‘greenification’ in mind, argues the Gipps Street landfill site is one example of where Penrith council has dropped the ball when it comes to local development.
“We’ve been waiting long enough. The site needs to be finished once and for all.”
Peta is critical of Penrith Council’s focus on catering to the needs of big business, arguing that it’s equally important to develop the infrastructure of the area in order to support any financial growth that is going to happen.
“I don’t want Penrith to just be a place for big business, I want Council to shape Penrith into a place that is, first and foremost, a place for local people – a place for families.
“We need to make sure that we have local voices on Council, who care about real democracy and are working to meet the needs of the area as a whole. If that sounds important to people, then I believe that they should vote for the Greens.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.