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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5062


Mr MURPHY (Reid) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the government is helping lift school performance? Prime Minister, are there any obstacles to implementing these measures?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the member for Reid for his question. The member for Reid and others in the parliament may have read in today's newspapers the story of Canley Vale High School, which has lifted its performance through the support of our Smarter Schools National Partnerships. This is a school that has focused on teacher quality, quality learning and empowered school leadership. What that means is that new ways of working have been combined with extra money from the federal government—in the case of Canley Vale High School some three million extra dollars to ensure that children in the school get a better education. The principal is reported as saying that NAPLAN is particularly useful and it shows that the school results are above average in almost every area. The kinds of practical initiatives that have been funded through the extra resources made available by the federal government include after-school homework clubs, a double literacy period for years 7 and 8, and attendance programs—simple measures but making a powerful difference for the quality of children's education.

I want to see that kind of change—new resources working with improved teaching to raise outcomes for children—in all 9,500 schools around the country. I want to see that for the children of Queensland. I want to see $3.8 billion flow to 1,700 Queensland schools, boosting each school on average by $2.2 million. This would be a very big change for Queensland, better for the children, lifting the learning outcomes. That is why I have written to Premier Newman and asked him to be frank about the real reasons that he is refusing to work with the federal government to increase funding for Queensland schools. Certainly we have provided the detailed modelling and updates to that modelling five times. There have been 56 meetings of officials. But, despite this, Premier Newman has not responded to our offer.

What is the explanation for this? Presumably, the Leader of the Opposition is prevailing upon Premier Newman to put the politics first and put the kids last. My message to Premier Newman is: put the kids first and the politics last. Do what the Premier of New South Wales has been prepared to do.

We will see a great sporting clash this week between Queensland and New South Wales. I am concerned too about the education race between those two states. I do not want to see children in Queensland left behind. Premier Newman should do the same as Premier O'Farrell has done and put his children first. (Time expired)

Mr MURPHY (Reid) (14:07): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Prime Minister, you mentioned the importance of national partnerships in schools. Prime Minister, are you aware of other examples where national partnerships are important?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:08): I thank the member for Reid for his supplementary question. I can assure him that right around this great nation I am aware of many schools that have lifted the performance of the children in those schools through our national partnership money, which is why I was so distressed to see in the 2010 election that the Leader of the Opposition announced as one of his cutbacks ending that national partnership money and reducing the quality of children's education.

Even worse is the misrepresentations being engaged in by the opposition about the power of this money and where it is being distributed. I point to the example of Irrawang High School near Raymond Terrace in New South Wales. The shadow education spokesperson said on Newcastle radio that improvements in that school had happened without an injection of new funds. That is completely untrue and designed to mislead people. It is completely untrue because that school has benefited from $3 million of targeted investment through our national partnerships—the money that the Leader of the Opposition in the last election said he would rip away. But, of course, that promise is just a curtain-raiser for what he is promising in September this year, which would be $16.2 billion less for our schools.

Our kids deserve better. They deserve a high-quality education. We on this side of the parliament are determined to ensure that every school offers a great education. (Time expired)