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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 553


Ms RYAN (LalorOpposition Whip) (15:32): I would like to thank the member for MacPherson for that wonderful tirade. It is nice to see, first, that somebody is now in a portfolio who can say the word 'education' without blushing—that would be a start—and, second, that after four years in government, they are actually looking at the issue and talking to people in the TAFE sector—that would be terrific. What a good idea.

There is no more important a topic than school education, and I would just like to bring the House back to the fact that this is an MPI about a $30 billion cut to school education. The distraction from the last speaker might have made the speaker feel better—the speaker, who was speaking, not the Deputy Speaker of course—but I do not think that it quite hit the mark. It is not a surprise that they want to distract away from the $30 billion cuts to school because, when you look at it electorate by electorate, the member for MacPherson's electorate will lose $22 million across the next two years, because of the policies of the government that she represents.

I notice that the member for Deakin has made himself scarce when he saw that I had a list, because the member for Deakin's electorate will lose $21 million across the next two years. I am not surprised they want to dash out of this chamber. In my electorate of Lalor, there are 58 schools, and these cuts will mean $35 million will be cut from our schools across the next two years.

We talk a lot about numbers in this place, and I am going to talk a bit about numbers, but I am going to talk specifically about the schools in my electorate that currently are getting equity funding and are doing fabulous work in improving student outcomes. The state schools in my electorate all have a target that every child will make more than one year's progress in that one year. These are aspirational schools working hard and being supported through needs-based funding by our state government. At Iramoo Primary School, there are 775 kids with $1.1 million extra this year in equity funding to support the great work of that school. At Laverton prep to 12, there are 653 kids with $1.6 million.

If you listen to these numbers, you also get some understanding about the level of disadvantage and why this funding is needed. If I look at a school like Manor Lakes prep to 12—1,800 children on its books with $1.3 million this year to support every child in that school from prep to 12. This is what equity funding looks like, and these schools are getting the outcomes that we want them to get. They are making aspirational targets and they are trying to reach them. They are working together collaboratively. The teachers are working together, experts in their field, building their craft together as they teach and learn, as they work together on the ground with those students, becoming better and better teachers, because they are feeling supported because they have the resources they need.

Then you look across the chamber and think about the things we know they want to do. We have Minister Birmingham—what a joke! He has been running around and has found a cheap option—went to the UK; someone did—a three-minute test for six-year-olds; a reject-shop option. Don't worry about professional teachers doing their work and learning together, just take a cheap three-minute test, wheel out some cheap program and that will fix it. Do you know where he figured this out? In the UK. Why would you go to a country that is below us on the PISA, in every measure, to figure out how to improve education? Why would you go somewhere where we are performing better than they are?

I do not want to trivialise the importance of education in this country—economically and socially. I do not want to suggest that I would support not taking action when our schools are slipping down in those measures. Our schools need support and our families need support. To back up the member for Sydney, I will finish on this: when I was a principal in a primary school in the inner city we could raise $30,000 at a fete—$30,000, not $35 million. (Time expired)