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Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Page: 1405

Education Funding

Ms KATE ELLIS (Adelaide) (14:30): My question is to the Minister for Education. Yesterday, the government claimed to have reached a national agreement on school funding. Can the minister confirm for the House what the states are required to do in return for these Commonwealth funds?

Mr PYNE (Sturt—Leader of the House, Minister for Education) (14:30): Thank you to the honourable member for her question. I am happy to answer it. What we announced yesterday was that we would put back the $1.2 billion into the school funding model that Labor took from it, including the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, who was then a minister in the government, who signed up to ripping $1.2 billion from schools. We put that back yesterday, because we thought it was important for school students around Australia to have certainty, to have the resources necessary in every state and territory. We did not believe that there should be second-class students in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

After spending 11 weeks working with the ministers in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, I was very pleased to be able to announce that we had reached a national agreement with those three jurisdictions to incorporate the $1.2 billion to ensure that every student—

Ms Kate Ellis: A point of order, Madam Speaker. The question was on what the states have to do in return for these funds. So far, the answer is nothing.

The SPEAKER: When the member rises on a point of order and wishes to raise relevance, it is necessary to say so. I call the honourable, the minister.

Mr PYNE: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Of course, what has happened since I reached a national agreement with Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory is that I have asked my officials and their officials to finalise the details of those agreements. But, broadly, what we will do is exactly what we promised before the election.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Those on my left will desist!

Mr PYNE: Before the election, we said that we would remove the command and control features from Canberra.

Ms King interjecting

Ms Chesters interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat and Bendigo are warned!

Mr PYNE: I know they are terribly excited, Madam Speaker.

Mr Danby interjecting

Mr PYNE: They are very excited, especially the member for Melbourne Ports. He rarely gets a go in question time, so we will mention him. We will put him in the Hansard. Madam Speaker, we said that we would dismantle the command and control features from Canberra, and we will. We said that we would remove the red tape and regulation, and we will. Importantly, we said that we would do that for all jurisdictions, but because these new jurisdictions that have signed up to the national agreement start from a clean slate that is exactly the kind of agreements we will put in place. And then next year we will return to the parliament, we will amend the Australian Education Act to do that for all the other jurisdictions that are signatory states. We will remove the red tape and regulation. We will remove the command and control from Canberra. We will ensure that our priorities align with the states and territories priorities, which is teacher quality, parental engagement, principal autonomy and a robust curriculum, because the most important outcome for students is quality and standards.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston is warned!

Mr PYNE: The member for Kingston is terribly excited. Maybe that is because she was not mentioned in the Hansard, but now she is! So we will make sure that our priorities and their priorities will accord—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will remove herself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Kingston then left the chamber.

Mr PYNE: Hear, hear! We will treat states and territories like adults, because they are adult governments answerable to their voters in the same way that we are answerable to our voters at federal elections.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, in the minister's answer he referred a number a times to agreements. I wonder, if he has copies with him, would he be able to table them in parliament.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.