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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6066

Education Funding

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (14:06): My question is to the Prime Minister. How will students in New South Wales benefit from the government's plan for better schools? How will building better schools also build a brighter future for Australia?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:06): I thank the member for Parramatta for that question, and I thank her for her interest in making sure that the children in her electorate get a high-quality education and a great future. I know that the member for Parramatta is very focused on that. She wants to make sure the kids of her electorate do not get left behind as the education standards of the world continue to rise.

I can say to the member for Parramatta and to members in this place that the work we are doing on schools is a great Labor reform. It is only Labor that has ever worried about the quality of education for every child in every classroom. When we came to government, our children and our schools had had to tolerate a decade of indifference and neglect. Education was not at the forefront of Australia's public policy debate, because no-one cared. There was no information on what was happening in schools. There was no idea where disadvantaged students went to school, because no-one cared.

Well, I care. This government cares. And that is why we have ensured that there is more information available now than ever before for Australians on the quality of education. We have made sure that we have demonstrated and proved that, no matter whether or not children come from a poor home, you can lift the quality of their education. We have made sure as we have rolled out the national curriculum that, if you and your family move from state to state, you will still be learning a high-quality national curriculum.

Now we want to go further and make sure that, whether you are in a school in Parramatta or a school in any other part of the country, you are getting a great quality education. In New South Wales we know that not every Liberal leader needs to be a wrecker. Premier O'Farrell in his budget today has made appropriate provision to work with the federal government to lift the quality of schools in New South Wales. I do not want the kids on the other side of the border in Victoria or in Queensland to be left behind. I do not want them to be the kids without the specialist teachers, without the speech therapy, without the people focused on their literacy, without the breakfast clubs, without the homework clubs, without the school support mechanisms that engage their families in school, without the empowered school principals.

I do not want those children left behind. That is why we, having seen Premier O'Farrell reach across the political divide and make this historic agreement, are so determined to ensure that it rolls out around the country so every child in every school gets a great education and we will not let the Leader of the Opposition stop us delivering that.