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Labor flags cuts to non-government schools.

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5 September, 2003 MIN 448/03

Labor’s Education spokesperson has foreshadowed that Independent and Catholic schools would face funding cuts under a Crean Labor Government.

In her speech today to the Australian Council of State School Organisations Conference (ACSSO),

Jenny Macklin said:

"Brendan Nelson likes to pretend that the increased funding to private schools gives parents more choices about their children’s education. What that really means is more choices for some parents in wealthy circumstances and less choice for working parents in ordinary circumstances".

"It’s time for a new state and federal consensus based on a clear federal government commitment to public schools in Australia as well as updated funding arrangements."

Jenny Macklin, ACSSO Conference, 4 September 2003

One in five families that earn less than $20,800 per year, send their children to non-government schools.

Every Australian parent, having paid their taxes to support well funded government state schools, should be supported in their choice of schooling for their children, whether it be in a Catholic, Anglican, Christian, Jewish, Islamic or Aboriginal community school.

In this year’s budget, the Howard Government increased funding to state government schools by 5.5 percent. No state or territory government budget this year has matched the Commonwealth’s increase to their own state government schools.

Had the states and territories increased their funding by the same rate as the Commonwealth, there would be an additional $668m for state government schools.

If Labor has a plan to withdraw funding from Independent and Catholic schools it should tell the parents of the 1 million students who attend those schools - now.

For further information:

Dr Nelson’s Office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663