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Coalition commits to a broken school funding system

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SENATOR JACINTA COLLINS Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations


Coalition commits to a broken school funding system

The Coalition has confirmed yet again that it would keep a school funding system that education experts agree is fundamentally flawed.

Yesterday Christopher Pyne twice refused to rule out clawing back any extra money that may flow into schools under a new funding system.

Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Jacinta Collins said Pyne‟s comments yesterday confirmed once and for all that the Coalition Government can‟t be trusted on schools.

“Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have no plan for our schools apart from slashing funding, squeezing more kids into classrooms and sticking to a flawed funding model that the Gonski Review found was failing our neediest students,” she said.

“Last night on the ABC he said that „money doesn‟t matter‟ - he wants schools to do more with less.

“And he continues to pretend that the current school funding system is just fine, when the overwhelming agreement in the education community is that it needs to be fixed.”

Pyne: The Coalition does not believe the current funding model is broken. I‟m not prepared to simply accept that it is broken because it isn‟t. (Sky News PM Agenda, 23.07.12)

Asked if the Coalition Government would „take back‟ any additional funding to schools the Opposition spokesman resorted to talking about children‟s stories.

Compere: What would happen though if the Government did find a way of finding this money and going ahead with the Gonski reforms? What would happen if the Coalition then won the next election? Would you take back that money? Would you repeal any reforms in place?

Pyne: Well David really it‟s like asking me if it‟s true that white rabbits talk in Alice in Wonderland. (Sky News PM Agenda, 23.07.12)

Asked again on the ABC last night if the Opposition would claw back additional funding, Pyne again refused to answer.

Pyne: That amount of money is not available and the Coalition is not committing to it. (Q&A, ABC TV 23.07.12)

And when asked how a Coalition Government planned to address educational disadvantage all he could suggest was cutting funding.

Pyne: I don‟t think it is about the money...Money is not the issue. We are focusing on the wrong things. (Q&A, ABC TV 23.07.12)

“What Christopher Pyne isn‟t telling Australian parents is that the Opposition has already confirmed it wants to slash spending on schools by $2.8 billion, and hasn‟t ruled out further cuts,” Senator Collins said.

“This includes $425 million for our Teacher Quality National Partnership which is helping get the best teachers into our classrooms through better training and professional development.

“The hypocrisy is staggering. Christopher Pyne can claim all he wants that he cares about quality teaching, but the reality is that he would slash Commonwealth funding for teachers.

“Every parent and every teacher knows that his claim that class sizes don‟t matter are way off the mark. Squeezing more kids into our classrooms will just deprive students of the individual support and attention they need.”

Senator Collins said the Coalition has also failed to guarantee the ongoing funding of the Gillard Government‟s Low SES and Literacy and Numeracy National Partnerships, which are delivering more teachers and extra resources to struggling schools and students.

“The Gillard Government is committed to giving every student, in every school, access to a great education - no matter where they live or what their family earns. Unlike the Coalition we care about all Australian schools and have demonstrated our credentials by almost doubling school spending,” she said.

24 July 2012

Media contact: Jonathan Davies 0409 354 493