THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
TUESDAY 27 MARCH 2018
SUBJECT: Release of the Australian Education Union campaign
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you. Well good morning. It's such a pleasure to be here with principals and teachers, parents and their representatives from all around Australia. They've come here to Canberra today to send a very important message to the Government. The Government should restore the $17 billion of funding it's cut from our schools. As you've heard this morning, money does matter. We've seen the early years of needs-based funding already making a difference in our schools. With more one on one attention, more help with the basics, more extension activities for kids who are gifted and talented, more help with behavioural issues, investment in things like speech pathology and occupational therapy - helping kids get the basic skills they need to be successful in the classroom. We've already seen the difference that the early years of extra funding makes. Why then would this Government cut $17 billion over the decade from our schools? We know that results have been improving where we've seen that extra investment, and instead we're going to lose that advantage and lose that improvement with these cuts. Now I visit a lot of schools and I see phenomenally dedicated teachers and principals struggling to make a difference every single day. Success after success, with kids who would otherwise be left behind. What do those teachers, what do those principals and school communities need to build on that success? They need the funding that they were promised. Now don't forget, this extra funding was legislated, it was written into agreements with state and territories. It was promised - the final two years of the Gonski needs-based funding, was committed to, and this Government had already said 'You could vote Labor, you could vote Liberal, there'd be not a dollar difference to your schools'. They promised to honour those original agreements. They did not honour those agreements. Instead they came into this Parliament and they voted to cut $17 billion from our schools. Well it's just not good enough. No-one here will accept these cuts to our kids, because we know the biggest difference we can make to the life of any Australian child, is give them a great education. It prepares them for the future in a fast-changing world. But the best investment we can make in our economy, is to invest in our kids as well. And today the Australian Education Union has released the survey findings that they've undertaken that show that 79 percent of people surveyed would rather see extra investment in public schools rather than a $65 billion big business tax cut. Now talk about wrong priorities from a Government - wanting to give tax cuts to multinational companies to flow to overseas shareholders instead of properly investing in our public schools. The Australian Education Union and its allies that are here today are launching a campaign that will remind Government MPs, every day between now and the next election, that they shouldn't have voted for these cuts, and it will remind parents and other Australians that this investment is necessary for our children. That this investment is beneficial for our nation, and I'm very proud to be joining with the Australian Education Union and organisations like the P&C to campaign to reverse the cuts. Our kids deserve decent funding in our schools today.