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Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Page: 1403

Education Funding

Ms KATE ELLIS (Adelaide) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for Education. Under Labor's Gonski plan, New South Wales agreed to improve teacher standards to boost student outcomes and to improve school leadership in order to receive federal funds. Minister, will Queensland be held to the same standard?

Mr PYNE (Sturt—Leader of the House, Minister for Education) (14:23): I am delighted finally to be asked a question by the opposition on an education issue. It is the first one in this parliament, in fact. I am very happy to answer it. The government announced yesterday that we will put back into school education the $1.2 billion that the previous minister for education, the now Leader of the Opposition, took out. For Queensland that means $794 million more over the next four years that they can spend on schools and on school students. I am very pleased to be able to say that John-Paul Langbroek, the Queensland minister for education, put out a statement yesterday saying that that money would be used for improving principal autonomy, discipline in schools and teacher quality, according entirely with this government's priorities and, most importantly, the priorities of parents and grandparents for their students in schools.

Parents and grandparents are not interested in the petty political games being played by the opposition on this issue. They are much more interested in results for their students—for their children and grandchildren. They are much more interested in quality and standards, which is what this government is interested in. We say to Queensland: 'We will treat you like an adult government. We're not going to have central command and control of your school systems from Canberra.' There is a very good reason for that. We do not own or operate any schools in Queensland. I know that will come as a shock to the shadow minister for education, who has only a passing interest in education, herself, personally—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston is warned.

Mr PYNE: who has had only a rudimentary association with education. This will come as a shock to her—I am going to let her in on a secret—the Commonwealth does not own or operate any schools. I know it is a shock. The states operate schools. They own schools. They employ teachers. This is what the Commonwealth will do: we will do our bit. We will play our part. We will put Commonwealth resources into our priorities, the states' priorities and territories' priorities to get the best results possible. But we will not have the red tape, the regulation, the school performance institute and the management plans by ministers from Canberra—Canberra central command and control. In closing, the Leader of the Opposition agreed with us. Before the election, in his deal with Victoria, he convinced Dennis Napthine to sign up. Dennis Napthine said:

At the last minute, very late, even as late as Saturday night, we had an agreement, finally, from the federal government that they were prepared to amend the Education Act to confirm the autonomy of Victorian government schools.

You are hung by your own words.