Protest over WA country college closure

A convoy of trucks have tooted their support through Perth's CBD for hundreds of protesters who marched on state parliament to save a regional residential college.

The truckers copped several fines for their trouble, with driver Julian McGill tweeting they had all been slapped with "substantial" penalties by Kings Park rangers.

Premier Mark McGowan declined to attend the rally but later told parliament it was "regrettable" some difficult decisions had to be made due to a $40 billion financial hole left by the previous Liberal government.

Mr McGowan said there were other places that could house the students.

"Not one of the students comes from Moora, they often come from far afield," he said.

He has stood firm against calls to keep Moora Residential College open, saying it would cost about $8.7 million to upgrade facilities for fewer than 30 students.

Protesters turned their backs on education minister Sue Ellery when she blamed the closure on the state's dire budget.

Central Midlands Senior High School Parents and Citizens president Tracey Errington said the college had not asked for the costly upgrade.

She said replacing buses and sending students to other schools would cost an estimated $1.3 million.

The college is managed by Central Midlands Senior High School, which will lose $264,000 in state funding according to an economic impact assessment prepared last month for the Moora Shire Council.

"Combined the economic impacts directly associated with the closure of the college will lead to an annual reduction of $2 million in local gross regional product and 19 jobs (directly and indirectly)," the report found.

College students presented the minister with a pillow and framed keys representing the rooms they will have to leave behind when the boarding school shuts at the end of this year.

Robin Scott, the One Nation member for the Mining and Pastoral region, says all of the planned education cuts are counterproductive.

"If the government persists with chiselling rural youngsters out of their educational opportunities, they will never be forgiven," Mr Scott said.

Tuesday's rally follows a protest by the Country Women's Association, the first in its 94-year-history.

The government has previously backflipped on $23 million in education cuts, leaving it to scrape savings from other departments.

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