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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5113


Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (17:39): I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill and ask leave of the House to move government amendments (1) to (18), as circulated, together.

Leave granted.

Mr GARRETT: I move government amendments (1) to (18), as circulated, together:

A copy of the government's amendments [BN269]can be found via the following link:

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=Content%3A%22australian%20education%22%20Dataset%3AbillsCurBef,billsCurNotBef;rec=0;resCount=Default

The amendments to the Australian Education Bill set out the Commonwealth's commitment to an Australian education system that will ensure high expectations for every student, regardless of their background, the type of school they go to or the barriers they face to educational attainment. They also show the government's commitment to a system that delivers the support to make these high expectations achievable.

The purpose of the amendments is to enshrine in law a national approach to funding school education that ensures that schools are funded according to the needs of their students. The amendments also link schools funding to key school reform directions that will provide the basis for achieving the goals: that Australian schooling provides a high-quality and equitable education for all students; that Australia be placed in the top five countries internationally in reading, mathematics and science by 2025; and that Australia be considered to be a high-quality and high-equity schooling system by international standards in 2025.

All recurrent Commonwealth funding for participating schools will be delivered through fair and transparent needs based arrangements, providing new investment to support reforms that will help to improve each student's achievement at school. For participating schools, additional investment will support the evidence based reforms in the National Plan for School Improvement focused on quality teaching, quality learning, transparency and accountability, meeting student need and empowering school leadership. And, for the first time, participating government and non-government schools will be funded on a consistent basis, with a new schooling resource standard for all recurrent funding to participating schools.

The states and territories and non-government approved authorities with more than one participating school will implement needs-based funding models approved as consistent with the SRS, but will be able to tailor their model to best address local needs. Funding for disadvantage will be fully publicly funded for both government and non-government schools and students. Families choosing non-government schools will still contribute to the base cost of funding their school, consistent with current arrangements. The new funding arrangements fundamentally change the way resources are provided by better linking funding to each student's needs. These reforms deliver transparent funding allocations for all schools and sectors.

The amendments provide financial assistance to states and territories for government and non-government schools from 2014 and beyond. Commonwealth financial assistance is provided to states in accordance with section 96 of the Constitution and to territories in reliance on section 122 of the Constitution. It replaces provisions in the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009, which authorises funding to states and territories for government schools, and supersedes the Schools Assistance Act 2008, which authorised recurrent funding for non-government schools from 2008 to 2013. Tomorrow I intend to introduce a consequential and transitional provisions bill to give effect to these matters.

The bill also contains a number of provisions where regulations will need to be made, following enactment of the bill, for key elements of the new arrangements to provide certainty to stakeholders on the relevant details and to ensure a smooth transition from 1 January 2014. Included in those parts are: grants of financial assistance to states and territories that I have referred to above; part 3, recurrent funding for participating schools, including the funding formula for base amounts and loadings, the capacity-to-contribute percentage and transitional provisions to move to the new funding model; part 4, recurrent funding for non-participating schools through a national specific-purpose payment setting out the financial assistance for non-participating schools; part 5, capital grants, special circumstances funding and funding for non-government representative bodies; part 6, approving authorities and bodies, including the application and approval of approved authorities for schools, the basic requirements for approved authorities, ongoing policy requirement for them, ongoing requirements for approved authorities for more than one school, approval and basic and ongoing requirements for block grant authorities, approval and basic and ongoing requirements for non-government representative bodies, and implementation plans for approved authorities for more than one school; and, finally, part 8, actions the minister may take for failure to comply with this act and to require amounts to be paid.

These amendments have been circulated. I commend them to the House.

Debate adjourned.