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School bill an attack on choice in education.

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45a Playford Avenue WHYALLA SA 5600 104 Ellen Street (PO Box 296) PORT PIRIE SA 5540 Phone: (08) 8645 4255 / Phone: (08) 8633 1744

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ROWAN RAMSEY MP Member for Grey


The change in funding arrangements for non-government schools currently before Federal Parliament will have a huge impact on new schools like Port Lincoln’s Navigator College, Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said today.

“The Rudd Government has introduced a reformed School’s Assistance Bill into Parliament proposing a number of changes to the way funds are delivered. In particular it withdraws support for the establishment of new schools,” he said.

“Previously, new non-government schools were entitled to establishment assistance grants of $500 per student in the first year of the school’s operation and $250 per student for the second year of operation. These grants have been scrapped by the government”.

“Losing this funding will cost the Navigator College at least $75,000 in the first year”.

New schools expanding options for regional Australia have been a feature of the education environment under the previous government. They have enjoyed enormous success and can only help to raise the overall standard of education by providing choice and competition in the industry.

“Parents who are prepared to fund a large proportion of their children’s education takes pressure off the taxpayer and gives parents a choice. There is a wide spread misconception that independent schools receive higher taxpayer funds than government schools, this is not the case,” Mr Ramsey said. “The issue is clouded by state and federal funding streams. “The Opposition has proposed amendments to the bill to make it fairer and will prevail upon the government to listen to reason.”

There are implications in the bill also for the delivery of a National Curriculum, which is yet to be decided upon and is currently being drafted. It is possible this curriculum will impact on a school’s ability to deliver education systems such as the International Baccalaureate and government may also require auditing of things as mundane as school fund-raisers.

“The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has a long record of targeting non-government schools, but they are not all wealthy and the non-government schools in my electorate offer strong and viable education alternatives for parents.”

Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith (08) 8633 1744 October 21, 2008