MEDIA RELEASE: THE BIGGEST RISK TO REGIONAL, RURAL, AND REMOTE EDUCATION IS MALCOLM TURNBULL

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


THE BIGGEST RISK TO REGIONAL, RURAL, AND REMOTE EDUCATION IS MALCOLM TURNBULL

If Malcolm Turnbull is serious about acting on the recommendations of his own review into regional, rural, and remote education, he should stop the cuts.

The fact the federal government snuck its review out late on Friday afternoon shows Mr Turnbull is embarrassed by how badly his policies affect schools, TAFE, and unis in the bush.

The report says: “Ensure RRR (regional, rural and remote) children start school with a strong foundation for learning.”

But the Liberals have cut $17 billion from schools, hitting public schools in regional areas particularly hard.

The report says: “Expand the availability, affordability and accessibility of high quality work experience placements, VET, dual VET/university options and two year associate degree programs for RRR students.”

But the Liberals have cut more than $3 billion from vocational education and training, and presided over more than 40 per cent drops in the number of apprentices and trainees in some regional areas.

The report says: “Support RRR students to make successful transitions from school to university.”

But Malcolm Turnbull’s $2.2 billion of higher education cuts effectively cap university places, denying a university education to many students in regional areas.  Under Labor’s uncapped system, the number of regional and remote undergraduate students grew by 53,000 or 48 per cent.  Mr Turnbull has also cut $200 million from the program designed to help regional and rural students get a place and succeed at university – the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program. 

The report says: “Improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of ICT for RRR schools, teachers, students, parents and communities.”

But Malcolm Turnbull has stuffed the NBN.  Because of Mr Turnbull Australia has an NBN that costs more and does less, leaving regional Australian behind. 

How can the National Party possibly support Malcolm Turnbull when he’s selling out the bush like this?

The federal government has failed to say which, if any, of the review’s recommendations it will implement.

The best thing Mr Turnbull can do for regional and rural education right now is stop the cuts.

In stark contrast to the Liberals’ cuts, Labor has already announced we will:

  • Restore every dollar of the $17 billion cut from schools
  • Invest more than $600 million extra in TAFE and vocational education
  • Invest $100 million in the Building TAFE for the Future Fund
  • Remove the effective cap on undergraduate university places

Labor will work carefully through the recommendations of the review.                       

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018