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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6519

Education Funding

Mr PERRETT (MoretonGovernment Whip) (14:35): My question is to the Treasurer. How does Australia's combination of economic strengths make us the envy of the world? And how will the government's plans for jobs and growth ensure our economy remains strong for generations to come?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:35): I would like to thank the member for Moreton for that very important question, because the Australian economy has emerged as one of the strongest in the developed world and we have emerged that way because we have got the big economic calls right and we will continue to get them right after the next five years as well.

We have had a period of remarkable global uncertainty, but we have performed so much better than other developed economies. We have an economy which is 14 per cent larger than it was at the end of 2007; an absolutely outstanding job creation record—almost one million additional jobs; and, of course, low unemployment at 5.5 per cent, low interest rates, strong public finances and a AAA credit rating from the three major global rating agencies for the very first time in our history. And, of course, we have low debt.

All of these facts are something that we in this chamber should all be very proud of. Of course, what we now need to do is to build for the future. We need to build on this strength and we need to take the resilience we have demonstrated over the last five years and make sure that we make the investments for the future. Nothing is more important there than our investment in education—our investment in A National Plan for School Improvement—because if we are going to win this economic race in the Asian century we have to win the education race.

It is very important that we get all states to sign on to this reform. In my home state of Queensland, Premier Newman does not want to sign on because he is taking his instructions from the Leader of the Opposition. This is worth $3.8 billion over six years for Queensland schools—$2.2 million extra on average per school in Queensland. Every single school in Queensland will be better off. There will be extra resources in the classroom, extra training for teachers and more support for the kids when they need it. This will mean that every kid in Queensland will get a better start in life if only the Liberal and National parties would put the children of Queensland first and their own political interests last. They have a week to sign up. We want to see some real interest in this issue in Queensland. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift all of our students up so we can make the most of the next five years and beyond.

Mr PERRETT (MoretonGovernment Whip) (14:38): Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Treasurer has spoken about what better school funding means for kids in Queensland. What would this mean for the 21,000 schoolkids in my electorate of Moreton?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:38): I thank him for that supplementary question. I think there are something like 21,000 students in Moreton, including Stanley, his son. They will benefit tremendously from this program. In Moreton alone that is an extra $106 million in funding on offer over six years. If you look across the state, in the electorate of Brisbane there are 25,000 students, in the electorate of Ryan there are 26,000 students and in the electorate of Dawson there are 28,000 students. Everyone on this side of the House is supporting additional resources to our schools right across the state of Queensland and right across Australia.

How is it that the Premier of New South Wales can sign up but the Premier of Queensland cannot? The answer is: straight politics—the negative politics of the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party. This government will always put our students first and politics last.