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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 562

Ms FLINT (Boothby) (16:08): Before I address this ridiculous allegation that the government has failed to properly fund public schools, as a proud South Australian I want to start by talking about the most serious failures of government in this nation at the moment in time, which of course are the serious and costly failures of the incompetent South Australian Weatherill Labor government. It is really hard to know where to start on this topic when I am talking about the Weatherill Labor government in South Australia, but let us start with the obvious: Labor cannot keep the lights on in South Australia. They cannot keep our air conditioners on in South Australia. People in South Australia cannot trust Labor to keep the lights on. If you want to talk about failure, let us start right there. It is a huge failure of government.

The South Australian Labor government has also failed to open one of the world's most expensive buildings. We have a $2-plus billion hospital sitting there that has not opened its doors. If you want to talk about failure of government, let us talk about that. We have a $2-plus billion desalination plant that does not produce water for South Australia. It is sitting there virtually mothballed. If you want to talk about failures of government, let us talk about that as well. Locally, in my electorate an issue that is very dear to my heart and to my residents is the failure of the state Labor government to put one dollar of new funding into the Oaklands crossing. That is yet another Labor government failure.

It is Labor governments not the Turnbull government that have failed schools in South Australia. I am very interested that none of those opposite seem to have read The Advertiser from last Friday. I want to read a few quotes from The Advertiser. On page 3, Friday, 3 February:

The state spending—

The South Australian state Labor government spending—

on public schools fell from $2.450 billion to $2.394 billion in 2014-15 when adjusted for inflation, while federal money increased—

Oh my goodness—

$12 million to $385.5 million.

State funding per public school student dropped from $14,682 to $14,312, while federal funding rose from $2237 to $2307.

So do not talk to us, especially me as a South Australian, about failures in education funding for public schools. It is Labor that have failed in this area. The kicker in this issue in South Australia is this, again from The Advertiser:

The figures come just days after it was revealed the state government gave a $757,500 grant to the group of community organisations to run a campaign against the federal education funding policies.

They should have been running it against themselves. It is absolutely ridiculous. This matter of public importance is a sham, particularly in relation to the state of South Australia but also in relation to overall education funding by the Turnbull coalition government. I would like to congratulate my South Australian colleague the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, on the work he is doing. We know that funding for Australian schools matters, that is why we are making a record overall investment of $73.9 billion in recurrent funding for schools over the next four years. I notice all of the Labor members opposite have disappeared. They have left the chamber. They cannot handle the truth. Those sitting in the backbench cannot handle the truth.

I want to recap: we are making a record overall investment of $73.9 billion in recurrent funding for schools over the next four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20. Indeed, our funding will grow each and every year from $16.1 billion—that is $16.1 billion, for the Labor members left in the chamber; there are only two of them, the rest have gone—to $20.2 billion by 2020. That is an increase of more than 25 per cent in just four years.

This is a ridiculous allegation that the Labor Party have made. We have not failed to properly fund schools. We have invested record funding in schools. I reiterate: if you want to look at a government that have failed to invest in public schools, you need look no further than your state colleagues in the South Australian Labor Party and ask them what they are planning to do to increase funding for public schools.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Coulton) : The time for the debate has expired.