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Beazley Stung by OECD Criticism



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FE D E R A L M E M B E R F O R G O L D S T E IN S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R E D U C A T IO N

4 MAY 1992

BEAZLEY STUNG BY OECD CRITICISM

Mr. Beazley's attack on the education and training commitments in FIGHTBACK! in the House of Representatives during Question Time today show that he has been badly stung by the OECD criticism of the unsatisfactory results of Labor's education policies over the last nine years.

John Hewson's FIGHTBACK! contains an unprecedented funding boost for education and training, and Mr. Beazley's pathetic effort to suggest that this major increase is actually a decrease shows that no misrepresentation is too big for the government to adopt.

Mr. Beazley has obviously been stung by the OECD's criticism of the relatively low level of skill development in Australia - after 9 years of Labor government!

Under FIGHTBACK! education across the three main areas - schools, TAFE/training and higher education - receives an unprecedented funding boost over this decade of $3 billion on new programs - a net $2 billion increase over current and projected spending levels.

Mr. Beazley claimed in the House today that because general grants to the States are to be reduced by 5 percent, this cut will outweigh any increase committed in FIGHTBACK! and will lead to net cuts in education expenditure.

The fact is that FIGHTBACK! shows that massive cuts are possible in the Commonwealth's own purpose expenditure alongside an ability to fund a major boost to expenditure on education and training. Governments which get their priorities right can both save the taxpayer money and increase spending in vital areas such as education.

We believe there is considerable scope for State Governments to make savings in their budgets by tackling waste and making government more efficient by measures such as "contracting out" (letting private businesses do work currently performed by State government employees - for example cleaning schools and

maintaining hospital grounds). Reflecting this there will be a modest 5 per cent reduction in general purpose grants to the States.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Labor is still struggling to get is policy in order. What happens to its commitment to increase TAFE funding if it cannot get the States to agree to hand over funding responsibility to the Commonwealth? ,

Further, Mr. Beazley has not revealed where the money to fund TAFE expansion is coming from.

He has yet to respond to Coalition criticism that the schools and higher education budgets are under threat.

It is about time Mr. Beazley was pressed for some answers.

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