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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3501


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:05): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to this graph from the budget booklet, 'National Plan for School Improvement', that shows that the cuts to education will outstrip new spending on education for the four years from 2013 to 2017.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will desist from using the prop.

Mr PYNE: How can the government claim that it is implementing a new school funding model based on the Gonski report that called for $6½ billion in new spending when it is cutting education in real terms for the next four years?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:06): I can well understand his embarrassment. He is embarrassed because their policy that they want to take forward is going to result in very significant cuts to schools right across the country because we have increased school funding substantially. Real education funding has increased by 35 per cent.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order, the Treasurer will resume his seat. The member for Mackellar will withdraw. She knows she cannot continue to use that word even if it is only me who continues to hear her say it.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: I will withdraw, Madam Speaker.

Mr SWAN: Real funding for education has increased by 35 per cent since 2007-08, and what we have put at the heart of this budget—which everyone on this side of the House is proud of—is a very substantial increase in funding for the school improvement program. Over six years, $9.8 billion will go to improve schools right around our nation if we can get the state premiers to sign up. Barry O'Farrell has had the guts to do so. Other state premiers have not been so forthcoming, because the Leader of the Opposition has been out there trying to bully them into not signing up to a financial agreement which will mean better schools right across our whole nation. At least Barry O'Farrell in New South Wales has had the decency to recognise how important this future funding is for schools right around our country.

The spokesman opposite knows that the national partnership money has been rolled into this increased funding, and, as is usual, he comes in here fiddling the figures—distorting them—trying to conduct a fear campaign when we have got in place a program which is acceptable to the Liberal Premier of New South Wales for all of the schools in that state. But those opposite want to play politics with this issue. They are acutely embarrassed by the fact that they want to stop an existing funding model which in my state of Queensland, if they were in power, would mean $2 billion less for Queensland schools. I can tell you this: this is going to be an acute embarrassment for the Liberals in Queensland and those other states that have not signed up, because this goes to the core of what sort of Australia we want and whether there is a government prepared to make the investments for the future. We on this side of the House are prepared to make those investments; those on that side of the House have a plan for cuts to the bone, particularly in health and education.

Mr Pyne: I seek leave to table page 15 of the National Plan for School Improvement, which has the graph that shows that the cuts to education outstrip new spending until the end of—

Leave not granted.