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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5215


Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (16:23): I expected a little better from the member for Higgins.

An honourable member: I didn't.

Mr GARRETT: Maybe others did not but I did. I expected the member for Higgins given that she had paid such close attention to the timing of the release of the Gonski recommendations would consequently have been aware of the fact that since that period of time, including through the ministerial council, which ministers Dixon and Hall participate in, we have continued to work closely with government and non-government school authorities as we start to finalise the shape, the content and the reform delivery of a National Plan for School Improvement.

This is actually a really big piece of important work done on a scale that we have not seen in the nation before. Coming in here and playing a bit of student politics around figures that have been released by somebody else at some other time and that do not reflect either what is in the budget or what the government's commitment is just does not cut the mustard. You stand judged in this place by the claims and assertions you make, because they do go on to the Hansard. If you want to run a line in here that all those schools that you have mentioned are going to find themselves in the same place as you are alleging, then broadcast it far and wide, member for Higgins, and then bear the consequences of one of two things happening. Firstly, Mr Abbott might persuade the Premier of Victoria that he will not and should not sign on to a National Plan for School Improvement, which includes additional investment over time, and as a consequence you will see less money going to every school around Victoria. Alternatively, he might persuade him to sign on to a National Plan for School Improvement, which this budget contains a commitment for over time.

Ms O'Dwyer interjecting

Mr GARRETT: Whilst the member interjects, those are the facts of the situation. You will have an opportunity to reflect more closely on this legislation, including the amendments, which we will be discussing in the House. You will have an opportunity to consider it in the light of the New South Wales government's commitment to this National Plan for School Improvement. Why does the member think that the Premier of New South Wales, a Liberal premier, and the national education minister would sign on to a plan for school improvement if it was going to mean that his schools would get less money? This is a totally false allegation and a ridiculous one to boot. The fact is that in 2014 schools will receive at least their 2013 funding levels plus three per cent indexation—an increase in real terms. Many schools will receive extra investment from the new Schooling Resource Standard, which will increase every year from 2014. Those commitments have been absolutely clear, and that is what will happen if Premier Napthine decides to act in the interests of Victorian students.

The member should be very aware of the consequences for a Liberal government in Victoria not accepting the offer that is on the table from the Commonwealth for a National Plan for School Improvement. Around $1.9 million per school and $5,500 per student in the government sector and an average of $1.7 million per school and $3,700 per student in the non-government sector would be lost. That is the issue here, and there could not be a clearer contrast. Running around with a bunch of figures that you have got from somewhere—wherever that may be—without referring to the specific appropriation in the budget amounts to a little bit of game playing that does not get us very far in here. Remember that extra money in the member's electorate alone, or any school, will pay for literacy and numeracy coaches across six year, five class sets of iPads, run a middle-year focus group for three years to improve literacy and numeracy, a highly-accomplished curriculum and learning teacher over three years to support the rollout of the national curriculum, which the opposition leader said today was his great priority. Memo to the opposition: we have been doing education and supporting education ever since we came into government. We will not stand in here and have a bunch of fractious and fictional allegations thrown at us when we are delivering these reforms, which are in the interests of all schools and all students, including in Victoria.