THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON SHARON BIRD MP
MEMBER FOR CUNNINGHAM
THURSDAY, 27 JULY 2017
SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull's cuts to Illawarra schools.
BELINDA WALL, PRINCIPAL, WOONONA HIGH SCHOOL: Good morning everyone. We are absolutely delighted to welcome Sharon and also Tanya to our school this morning. We've been achieving some wonderful outcomes for our students over the last few years, and we would very much like to share that with Sharon and Tanya by taking them into our classrooms to see the amazing work that our teachers do every period, every day, here at Woonona High School, and also to talk to some of our students about being the recipients of some of the wonderful teaching and learning programmes that are happening here on a daily basis. So welcome Tanya and welcome Sharon.
SHARON BIRD MP, MEMBER FOR CUNNINGHAM: Thanks Belinda.
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you Belinda.
BIRD: Well, look, I am very, very pleased to have Tanya Plibersek here today. This is a really important issue to our local community and I've had that again recently demonstrated. I've had a survey out across the community in recent weeks, nearly 1000 people have responded. And within that survey I gave them the opportunity to make comment about what their concerns and issues were. And 60% of people took the time to write a detailed explanation of their concern about education, and in particular how important it is, in an area of high youth unemployment, that we have the best possible education for our young people. And so to be able to come here and meet with Belinda and the team, the school students who are studying here ,and hear the great work they've been doing with their Gonski funding is really, really important. And I am just thrilled that Tanya has been able to join us. She has been here many, many times and I know is such a strong advocate for a really quality education and looking after our young people. So we're looking forward to meeting the students, seeing what's happening in the classrooms, and continuing the campaign to get fair funding for our local schools. So thanks Tanya.
PLIBERSEK: Well thanks so much Sharon and thank you Belinda for welcoming us to Woonona High School. It's such a pleasure to be here because this school exemplifies what the extra dollars of needs-based funding can do. In this school, what we've seen are smaller class sizes, greater subject selection, and fantastic success at getting more students going from Year 12 into university. In the last few years they've seen numbers jump from 15% of students going to uni to 55% of students going to uni after Year 12. Now that's in a very short period and it's with only the early years of extra needs-based funding. What more could this terrific school achieve with extra needs-based funding over coming years? This school alone will lose more than $400,000 over the next two years because of the Liberal cuts. Across this region, across the Illawarra, there will be $15 million less for schools in the Illawarra because of the Liberals' cuts. Now we know the difference that the early years of needs-based funding is making in this school. We're seeing the results already. We see it right across the Illawarra. It is a tragedy to take that $15 million away from the schoolkids of the Illawarra. We know that right across Australia, extra needs-based funding is allowing investments like the investments at this school. What we see here - smaller class sizes, bigger subject selection, more kids going on to uni - those sorts of results we're seeing in many other parts of Australia, and they stop dead now because Malcolm Turnbull has cut $17 billion over the next decade from our schools. Now it's not fair that a school like Woonona will lose more than $400,000 over the next two years, and a school like The Kings School in Sydney, with fantastic resources already, will get an extra $19 million over the decade. That's not needs-based funding, that's not fair. This is a bad deal for schools like this.
JOURNALIST: You mention the school stands to lose about $400,000. How much funding did it initially receive?
PLIBERSEK: The school can tell you more about the funding that it's received in the early years of needs-based funding, but you can see how every extra dollar has been put to good use. You see more students achieving better results through the HSC and more students going on to a university education. We know that in an area like the Illawarra, that does have high youth unemployment, that makes all the difference to the future of these young people.
JOURNALIST: If you were to get into Government you would fully reinstate the Gonski funding?
PLIBERSEK: If Labor is elected at the next Federal election we will restore every dollar of the funding cut by the Liberals. Every dollar.
JOURNALIST: How many schools in the Illawarra received Gonski funding?
PLIBERSEK: Every school received extra needs-based funding. Every school received extra, and we've got a list that we can go through, school by school. You can see school-by-school the cuts that have been made because of the deal that went through the Federal Parliament during the last Parliamentary sitting period. Every school, every public school in the Illawarra, will lose funding because of these cuts.
JOURNALIST: Obviously schools getting funding is a benefit, regardless, but is getting Gonski affordable from a Government perspective?
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely. Government is all about making choices. What Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to do is give a $65 billion big business tax cut. He's chosen to give people earning more than $180,000 a year a tax cut, so that someone on one million dollars a year gets a $16,400 a year tax cut. He's chosen to give big business a tax cut, multi-millionaires a tax cut, at the same time as he is cutting funding for our children's' education. Thanks everyone.