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Gillard admits computers blow-out will cost the states and schools billions.



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THE HON TONY SMITH MP S H A D O W M I N I S T E R F O R E D U C A T I O N , A P P R E N T I C E S H I P S & T R A I N I N G F E D E R A L M E M B E R F O R C A S E Y

M E D I A R E L E A S E

TSE013/08 Tuesday, 1 April 2008

GILLARD ADMITS COMPUTERS BLOW-OUT WILL COST THE STATES AND SCHOOLS BILLIONS

Julia Gillard has admitted Labor’s ‘digital revolution’ is facing massive cost blow outs and will cost the states and individual schools, the Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, Tony Smith, said today.

Mr Smith said Julia Gillard was now pleading with the state governments to accept the extra costs for their expensive $1 billion computers in schools election promise.

“Julia Gillard is asking the states not to ‘hinder’ its plans to deliver computers to schools - even though it’s now expected to cost them up to $3 billion on top of the Federal Government’s $1 billion,” Mr Smith said.

“I doubt the states thought new ‘federal-state cooperation’ would mean having to pay for all of Labor’s costly election promises - it’s no wonder the state premiers are baulking.

“Kevin Rudd has even admitted that his policy is under-funded and will not cover the costs for air-conditioning, powerpoints, wiring, security, maintenance and teacher training.

“The Federal Government is simply going to turn up at schools, dump the computers, smile for the cameras and take the glory while the states and schools are left to pay for the costs.”

Mr Smith said Julia Gillard had provided no certainty to independent and Catholic schools which were expected to pay for the extra costs themselves.

“The cost of re-wiring one school alone can be around $100,000 while extra electricity for one computer is up to $300 for each computer a year and that doesn’t include insurance, teacher training or anything else,” Mr Smith said.

“Obviously these costs will be passed on to parents in the form of higher school fees or even more fundraising.

“Given the state government’s track record on funding education I doubt they will cough up the extra $3 billion required to actually use these computers.”

Mr Smith said Kevin Rudd’s policy was turning out to be nothing more than an under-funded, unworkable and unplugged cheap election campaign gimmick that was never thought through in the first place.

Media Contact: Rhiannon Keen, ph: 0438 316 505