THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
MONDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2016
SUBJECTS: Schools' funding
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thank you very much for coming out this morning. I just wanted to make a few brief comments about the Grattan Institute report today into funding for our schools.
Of course, we welcome any examination of the adequacy of school funding and how we might best achieve what we all need- what we all know needs to happen, which is much better funding of our schools. And the extraordinary thing about the debate we’re facing at the moment is we’ve got the Grattan Institute, and others, talking about how we might get to a school resourcing standard, how we might properly achieve what the Gonski school funding report set out to achieve, which is proper needs-based funding across our schooling system.
But in response, we've got a Government who is not at all prepared to talk about the adequacy of school funding, and in fact, is clinging desperately to the changes made in the 2014 Budget, which see about $30 billion cut from our schools over coming years. In just a few weeks time, on the 16th of December, the education minister, Simon Birmingham, will be talking with state education ministers from around Australia. Unless Simon Birmingham has an explanation for the state ministers about how this Government is going to find the $30 billion that’s been cut from our schools, we’re back at square one. We’re still in a situation where the cuts from the 2014 Budget, that rob every child, in every school, of proper school funding - they stand. Now, at the same time as this Government has cut $30 billion from our schools, they want to give big businesses a $50 billion tax cut.
If we are genuine about investing in our future, if we are genuine about productivity gains, if we are genuine about wanting to be a high-wage, high-skill economy, then an investment in education is the best investment we can make. It’s the best investment we can make in our individual children, to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed, and it’s the best investment we can make in our nation, to ensure we’re a high-skill, high-wage economy.