THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC ILLAWARRA 97.3
WEDNESDAY 24 MAY 2017
SUBJECT: Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to Illawarra schools.
NICK RHEINBERGER, INTERVIEWER: Tanya Plibersek is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and also the Shadow Minister for Education and joins us now. Good morning
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.
INTERVIEWER: We've got a lot of information here. It's very hard for our listeners to make sense of it -
PLIBERSEK: It really is hard when you've got people saying such different things isn't it?
INTERVIEWER: We had Ann Sudmalis saying every school in Gilmore is getting an increase and yet we have the Labor Party, and including yourself, talking about Nowra East saying it's going to be cut. Who do we believe?
PLIBERSEK: Well, in fact every public school in Gilmore will be cut and can I explain the difference? Ann Sudmalis is saying there will be an increase on what the Liberals were going to fund schools. Remember Tony Abbott wanted to cut $30 billion from the schools budget in 2014, so they're only cutting $22 billion, Anne Sudmalis calls that an increase - instead of cutting $30 billion, we're cutting $22 billion, we should be congratulated for it. What we are saying is that, as is the NSW Government saying, this, the Liberal Government in Canberra, should be judged against the six year funding agreements that the states have with the Commonwealth Government and compared to those six year funding agreements, Nowra East will lose $1.3 million, Shoalhaven will lose $1.3 million, Ulladulla will lose almost a million dollars, Vincentia High School will lose $1.3 million. I mean, every school in Gilmore will lose compared with the signed funding agreements that the NSW Government has with the Commonwealth Government.
INTERVIEWER: Well this is what Anne Sudmalis was saying - you have to look at who this was signed up with, who they did the deal with. Are you basically holding us to Tony Abbott's statement that he was on a unity ticket with Mr Rudd when it comes to education, is that what it all comes down to?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think Tony Abbott said "You can vote Liberal, you can vote Labor, there'll be not a dollar difference to your school". I think we should be entitled to take that at face value. But more importantly, this is not about political promises. There's actually an agreement. This is like you agreeing to buy a house and at the last minute pulling out of it. The Commonwealth Government and the NSW State Government have a signed agreement for a certain amount of money. The NSW Government has to find extra money for its share and the Commonwealth Government had to find extra money for its share. The Commonwealth Government is just reneging now. They've said no, too bad, we don't believe that any more, sorry, and they're trying to get credit for instead of cutting $30 billion, just cutting $22 billion dollars. It's like, it's honestly like hitting someone and then hitting them again, not quite as hard, and saying oh that second one, that was good.
INTERVIEWER: Okay well the Liberal Party have gone back to the source, they're working with David Gonski, and he says that he's pleased that the Turnbull Government has accepted the fundamental recommendations of the 2011 report, particularly regarding the needs-based situation, so regardless of the Abbott promises, aren't we moving towards a reasonable solution, using the man who designed it?
PLIBERSEK: I don't think any proposal that takes $22 billion away from schools over the next decade is reasonable or fair. That number, that $22 billion cut, comes from the Government's own briefing to journalists at that press conference that you're talking about with David Gonski. That's not my number, that's the Government's own number that they distributed to journalists - $22 billion cut over the decade, compared with what schools would have go under Labor's original funding agreement.
INTERVIEWER: Are they really having money taken away though? Anne Sudmalis would say that this is just fantasy money which was promised but never funded.
PLIBERSEK: If you were earning $100,000 this year and your boss said to you, next year you're getting $110,000, and then next year came and you still got $100,000, what would you think? Would you think you'd been ripped off?
INTERVIEWER: Well I just have to leave you to make that point yourself Tanya Plibersek. Alright, great to talk to you this morning. Thanks very much.
PLIBERSEK: Can I just make a point?
INTERVIEWER: Quickly yep.
PLIBERSEK: That this is not just Gilmore schools. This is actually Cunningham, it's Whitlam, it’s the whole region. Whitlam loses $20 million in just two years alone. Cunningham loses more than $15 million in just the next two years alone, and Gilmore loses $19 million over the next two years alone. Sharon Bird's fighting this, Stephen Jones is fighting this - why won't Ann Sudmalis stand up for her schools with the NSW Liberal Government which is also fighting this? If it's such a good deal for schools, why does the Liberal Government in NSW hate it? Why do teachers hate it? Why are principals standing up against it? Why do teachers hate it if it's such a great deal?
INTERVIEWER: Okay Tanya Plibersek sorry but we are four seconds away from the news. That's the Shadow Minister for Education. It's 9 o'clock.