SUBJECTS: Labor’s funding commitment to The Song Room; Labor’s policy focus on health, education and childcare, not on providing tax cuts to high income earners.

GED KEARNEY, CANDIDATE FOR COOPER: Good morning everybody and welcome to the wonderful Pender’s Grove Primary School, here in Preston in the seat of Cooper. And I'm very excited today to have with me Kat Theophanous who is the state member for Northcote and the wonderful Tanya Plibersek, our great Deputy Leader of the Labor Party. We have a wonderful announcement today. We've just had a great demonstration from the lovely little preps here about how the use of music and song and instruments, musical instruments, can make such a different to their learning. We know from all of the research that using music, particularly in the early years, has a huge effect on the outcomes for these kids with their education and I'd just like to hand over to Tanya who's going to make a fantastic announcement. Before I do that I'd like to thank Douglas, the principal, and just acknowledge that we have some wonderful people from Song Room here today who are a great organisation that facilitate music in schools. So thanks, Tanya.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thank you so much Ged, and it's such a pleasure to be here today to make a very important announcement and that is Labor, if elected, would contribute almost $5 million extra funding to The Song Room, a fantastic organisation, you saw their great work just a moment ago with these little prep kids here. The Song Room supports arts education in schools and it also upgrades the skills of teachers who are in primary schools, generalist teachers, helps them to become more confident in teaching the arts. It also has programs that will support the involvement of more parents in their children's education. The extra funding that we are proposing today, close to $5 million over three years, will allow 12,000 additional students to participate in this program. 32 schools will get the opportunity of having The Song Room work with their school communities. Now this is obviously great for arts education but the additional learning benefits of an arts education are proven by Song Room. The Song Room has shown that children who participate in their programs are six months ahead of their peers when it comes to science, engineering, STEM type subjects, and they're 12 months ahead of their peers when it comes to literacy. In fact, indigenous students who participate in Song Room programs virtually close the gap in literacy with non-indigenous students, so the benefits of the education in the arts, obviously it's fun, you see much greater school attendance in the schools that are participating in The Song Room, so there's those benefits but there's benefits right across a child's learning in literacy, in numeracy and so on. I'm going to hand over to Simon now to say a few words about The Song Room and about this additional funding commitment, what it will enable The Song Room to achieve. Thank you.

SIMON GIPSON, CEO THE SONG ROOM: Thank you very much, Tanya. And can I say that we at The Song Room are incredibly excited by the possibility extended to us by the Labor Party should it win the Federal Election. Because it will make a tangible difference to, as you heard, thousands of students across the country, and for us it's an extraordinary validation of the work of The Song Room which has been involved in making a difference for young people, particularly those in high needs community, for nearly two decades. The Transforming Learning through Creativity Program, which is a pilot approach that intends to be impactful, sustainable and scalable by focusing on building the capacity, capability and confidence of generalist primary teachers, will make a transformational difference to the learning outcomes of students. So Tanya, on behalf of, not just we at The Song Room but thousands of kids across the country, thank you so much for this support. It really does mean a great deal.

PLIBERSEK: Thanks. Such a pleasure. Thank you very much. You might want to stand aside because I'm going to get asked-


Labor of course is able to afford investments like this because we're not giving $77 billion of tax cuts to the very highest income earners. We've made choices. We've decided that it's more important to properly fund three and four year old universal access to preschool. To help families with the cost of their childcare bills. To provide $14 billion extra funding to our public schools. To restore the investment that's been cut from TAFE and universities, making sure that more young Australians get the opportunity of an apprenticeship or a university education. We have chosen investment in education as one of the most important things that our nation can do. The contrast is Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg who think it's more important to give $77 billion of tax cuts to people who are already on very high incomes, and $80 billion of tax cuts to big business including $17 billion to the big banks. Elections are about choices and we choose investing in our people over protecting tax loopholes for the top end of town, any day of the week. These children, the ones that you saw today, the 12,000 that will benefit in low income communities around Australia from this very modest investment, show the transformational impact that education can have in a person's life. I think it's incredible that Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg and others say we can't properly fund schools, we can't afford to properly fund schools and preschools and childcare and TAFE and university. We can't afford that. When in fact what they mean is kids don't deserve that. Well we say investing in our children is a priority and it's a higher priority than giving $77 billion of tax cuts to the very highest income earners. Now I thought it was incredible that again this morning, when being interviewed by Fran Kelly, Josh Frydenberg refused to confirm that figure for very high income people getting tax cuts in coming years as $77 billion. Scott Morrison refused to confirm that figure in the debates that he's been involved in. What has this Government got to hide when it comes to tax cuts for people on very high incomes? Is it actually more than $77 billion? Josh Frydenberg today being interviewed by Fran Kelly avoided the question again and again and again and again. The public estimate by the Australia Institute is that the very high income tax cuts will cost $77 billion over the next decade. If that is not the number then the Treasurer should come clean. Is it more than that? Is it more than $77 billion? And the other thing this Government has to come clean on is where this funding will come from? What will be cut to afford that $77 billion tax giveaway for the top end? Will there be more cuts to schools? Will there be more cuts to hospitals? To TAFE? To aged care? To disability? Don't forget – this Government's much boasted about projected surplus for next year is built on the back of a $1.6 billion underspend in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. So, my challenge to Josh Frydenberg today - and to Scott Morrison too - is come clean. Come clean on the size of the tax cut, and come clean on where the money is coming from. What will you cut to afford this extra tax cut for the top end?

Any questions? Thank you.