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Labor's 66% computers in schools cost blow-out driving the budget into deficit.

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Labor’s 66% Computers in Schools cost blow-out driving the budget into deficit

Revelations today of a 66% blow-out in the cost of the Computers in Schools program proves the Rudd Government is incapable of running Education or the economy, Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education said today.

“This 66% blow-out is a spectacular failure on the part of the Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It is an $807 million demonstration of that failure. Ms Gillard has too much on her plate to manage this portfolio,” Mr Pyne said.

“The Government is attempting to blame the global financial crisis for going into deficit; the reality is cost blowouts in programs like Computers in Schools are driving down the surplus,” he said.

“It is economic incompetence and bungling mismanagement that is leading the Budget into deficit. Labor is panicking when it comes to the global financial crisis and cost blowouts are making matters worse.

“The centrepiece of the Education Revolution is massively underfunded and the program is in freefall. This 66% blow-out is an attempt to bail out the sinking ship - but even with this extra money Labor will still fail to put a computer on every desk. In fact, this new money will only put a

computer on every second desk.

“At the ALP Campaign Launch on 14 November last year - ten days before the election - Kevin Rudd promised ‘every Australian secondary school student in years nine to 12 with access to their own computer at school’.

“Departmental figures released under FOI show that this extra money will still not deliver on their election promise of one computer for every child in year 9 to 12 - instead getting the numbers up to one computer for every second student only - if you can believe the Government!

“Labor can’t manage the business of Government and it can’t manage the economy.

“The Rudd Government is planning to take Australia back down the road of Labor debt and deficit. Their confused mismanagement of programs like Computers in Schools is taking Australian back into the red.

“If there had been a 66% cost blow-out in any portfolio in the first year of the Howard Government, that Minister would have been dismissed.

“We have a situation where the Deputy Prime Minister has had a year to get this right.

“Kevin Rudd must act and take the Education portfolio away from Julia Gillard as she clearly has too much on her plate,” he said.

28 November 2008 MEDIA CONTACT: Adam Howard 0400 414 833