MEDIA RELEASE: OUR SCHOOLS NEED SUPPORT NOT CUTS

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

OUR SCHOOLS NEED SUPPORT NOT CUTS

What kind of Prime Minister takes money off schoolkids to give it to big business?

That’s what parents are asking after the unfair Budget Malcolm Turnbull delivered last week.

Mr Turnbull is ripping $22 billion from schools so he can give big business a massive $65 billion tax cut.

Why should schools cop cuts to help fatten company profits that soared 65 per cent last year?

It’s completely unfair.  Malcolm Turnbull has his priorities all wrong.

The $22 billion cut means every Australian school will lose an average of $2.4 million. 

It’s the equivalent of sacking 22,000 teachers.

Labor has announced we will restore the $22 billion Malcolm Turnbull has cut from schools.

That’s because we believe every child, in every classroom, deserves every opportunity.

We want better schools, better results, and better support for our great teachers.

Labor would have brought all schools up to their fair funding level by 2019 (a little bit later in Victoria).

With our plan the biggest increases go to schools that need it most, whether they are public, Catholic, or independent. In practice that means around 80 per cent of extra funding goes to public schools.  That’s because public schools teach around 80 per cent of Australia's poorest kids, 80 per cent of Indigenous students and 70 per cent of kids with a disability. 

In contrast, under Malcolm Turnbull’s policy only one in seven public schools will ever get to their fair funding level.  In fact, his policy will see more than half the funding go to private schools. That’s not fair.

When Malcolm Turnbull released his new schools policy, he tried to pretend he was increasing funding.  But it took less than two weeks from that announcement for his new policy to be exposed for what it really is – a massive $22 billion cut.

Even the Liberal state government in NSW sent a letter to principals warning the school funding figures Malcolm Turnbull was publishing could not be trusted.

That’s because the numbers Mr Turnbull is using have been deliberately designed to disguise his cuts.

Parents, teachers, and schools are entitled to know the truth. 

Accurate information, released last week, shows virtually every public school in NSW will get huge funding cuts thanks to Malcolm Turnbull’s new policy.

Over the next two years alone, NSW public schools will lose a staggering $846 million.

Parents work so hard at fundraising because they know what a positive difference extra money makes to their local school.

It means more teachers, more one-on-one attention for kids, and more help with the basics.

As parents, we just want the best possible education for our children.  Our schools deserve support, not Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts. 

This opinion piece was first published in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, 18 May 2017.