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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12663

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (16:13): I rise to speak on education, which seems to be a common topic at the moment and a matter of great importance to all of us in this House. As usual it is the coalition side of politics that will ultimately provide the real answers and the real solutions. It is interesting that the government sought to hold the Gonski education forum in my electorate last week, hosted by the member for Rankin, Mr Emerson, along with the Minister for School Education—the member for Kingsford-Smith, Mr Garrett. The event was held at Marsden State High School.

I am sure many of my constituents would have been very interested to find out more about Labor's plans for education, but a forum during the middle of the day does not really work that well for most working parents and teachers in my electorate.

From what I hear they did not miss out on much. They did not miss out on hearing about how the government plan to fund the proposed $6.5 billion a year increase from 2014, because they did not have an answer for that except to say that they will find it somewhere in the magic never-never. They also did not explain how much extra, given the announcements this week, will be required on top of that $6.5 billion to implement the latest addition to Labor's education crusade, or revolution or whatever you want to call it, to fund the implementation of the government's Asian language policy.

I think it is a very relevant question for everybody in our community: where will the money be found? It certainly does not exist in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Ironically, this update only shows that the government will cut or delay around $2.4 billion in education programs. This is a government that parades around talking about its commitment to education, but has just announced billions of dollars of cuts. For example, it announced a delay of $175 million from the National Partnership for Teacher Quality that would have gone to the states next year. Another $304 million has been cut from trade training centres as the program is further delayed and only 208 of the 2,650 promised centres have been finalised.

Students at these schools will be the ones paying for Labor's education point-scoring match when they inherit the debt of this Labor government when they enter the workforce. My constituents deserve to know where the money will be coming from to fund education. That is what they want; not a form in the middle of the day full of spin and political campaign fodder.