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Community & Business

4 December, 2021

'Heat week' concerns

There has been much concern from parents in the school community about why Gilgandra does not receive a ‘heat week’ during the beginning of the year.

By Emily Middleton

Some Gilgandra parents are concerned about heat-related illnesses at school.

“I know that Gular has a heat week, and we’re only 30 minutes down the road from them. It just makes no sense that we don’t have it,” said a concerned parent.

“We get those blinding hot days as well!”

Heat week refers to the extra week of leave students in various rural and regional towns receive, due to the extreme heat endured. When posed the question, the NSW department of education explained that Gilgandra was in the eastern division of the state.

“The eastern division of the state does not qualify for the extra week of leave during the summer vacation period. “Heat Week”, as this extra week is commonly called, is related to Western Division schools only,” said a NSW education spokesperson.

“Gulargambone and Nyngan are located in the Western Division of NSW and do receive the extra week’s leave during the summer vacation period.”

The division of the state of NSW applies to all public sector employees and remains per the Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 to 0.24 degrees Celsius since national records began in 1910, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events.

The office of environment and heritage has researched heatwave intensities and their projected changes, and states that “the hottest day of the hottest heatwave (heatwave amplitude) is projected to increase across the state in both the near and far futures, although it is only in the western regions of NSW in the far future that most models project statistically significant increases.”

This means that Western NSW is only going to see an increase temperature during summer, substantially more than its coastal counterparts.

These heatwaves will not discriminate against the Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913, and Gilgandra is becoming significantly more affected by heat in recent years. T

here are growing concerns among some Gilgandra parents of severe heat related illnesses while at school, with a push for an amendment under discussion.

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