| May 22, 2017

3 minute statement regarding schools

 

The Labor Party is the only group in Australia that continues to think that adding more money to the existing funding arrangements for education, at a rate that is over and above the cost increases that are expected to be in the sector, is somehow or other a cut. They know it is untrue. They know it is deceitful. We all know it is disgraceful that they continue to talk about these monies. Sure, they promised more money, but when doesn't Labor promise more money for every sector in Australian government? When don't they come out and say, 'I don't care how much the coalition is spending. We're going to spend more!' It is just what they do. It is what is in their DNA. Whatever we offer they are always going to outspend us. We understand that. But to stand up and say that there has been a cut is nothing short of deceitful and disgraceful.

We have taken the funding models of the primary schools, the independent schools and the government schools from where they are at the moment and we have put 4.4 per cent, 4.2 per cent, 4.3 per cent and four per cent growth on top of where they are at the moment—$6.6 million and on it goes. There is not one school, except the 19 or so—most of them here in Canberra—that is actually going to have less funding. If the Labor Party wants to install their funding let them come out and say they want to install more money for Canberra schools—that is what they want to do—but they will not. They are too scared. They understand that we have this one right. They understand that we have a fair funding model. They understand that we have a needs based funding model. They understand that the model that we have given them is transparent for the first time ever. It is uniform. They understand that David Gonski is now standing side-by-side with the Prime Minister and the education minister. They understand that what we are doing for the education sector is giving the teachers, students and schools the full respect that they deserve for such a critically important vocation.

I would like also to have a little bit of a special thankyou to the teachers and to the principals, because it is my view that a lot of parents are vacating the space of parenting their children. What they are doing is placing more and more responsibility, and more and more tasks, onto the schools to do some of the basic. The expectation has always been that a lot more of the various roles associated with parenting a child, with raising that child, used to be the sole responsibility of the parent. They would send their kids off to school to be educated. However, what we are finding now is that there are many schools that have to provide a breakfast program and a lunch program. They have to explain to children how to be resilient. They have to explain to children how to handle bullying. There is a whole range of other social problems that are much more than just your basic education that now has to be provided by principals, year-level coordinators, welfare staff and on it goes.

I think that we need to enable principals to be able to do the best job they can, and that means giving them autonomy. It means giving teachers some incentive to be as good as they can possibly be, to create some benchmarks that are going to see teachers continue to strive to be the best teacher that they can be.

I am proud to be part of a government that has developed such a fair and transparent funding model, one that has acknowledged the teaching profession for the critically important vocation that it is. This is not just about recurrent funding and having a very fair recurrent model—we understand exactly now that if you send your kid to a government school the state government is going to provide 80 per cent of the resource funding and the federal government is going to provide 20 per cent. For private schools, flip that over—20 per cent from the states and 80 per cent from the Commonwealth government. Not only that, we also have a very strong Capital Grants Program. Recently, in my electorate of Murray, there was $1 million for St Augustine's College Kyabram, $1 million to Sacred Primary Heart School in Yarrawonga and $700,000 for St Mary of the Angels Secondary College in Nathalia. We have seen $50,000 for digital literacy for primary schools at Lockington, working in conjunction with the primary school at Rochester. To see years 5 and 6 students using their iPads for computer programming of some robots really shows that kids in today's primary schools are taking the technologies that are available to them, and taking them just as second nature. These are some of the important steps that we are taking as a government, and I am very proud to be part of the coalition government when it comes to education.

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