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Smoke and mirrors Indigenous education funding announcement to hide 3.25% a year increase.

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Media Release

Jenny MacklinMP Acting Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga

Smoke and mirrors Indigenous education funding announcement to hide 3.25% a year increase

Today’s announcement by the Education Minister does not represent any significant new investment in Indigenous education and almost entirely comprises the re-announcement of existing Indigenous measures.

The Minister has inflated the increase in Indigenous education funding by combining it with Abstudy which as he notes “will continue under the current structure.”

The Abstudy increases account for 60 per cent of the Minister’s claimed $351 million increase. That means all other Indigenous education programs combined receive just a 3.25 per cent per annum increase which is barely inflation.

Indexation - not new policy - is responsible for the main funding changes. The funding changes almost entirely result from annual adjustments to cover cost increases - not new investment in the portfolio.

The announcement is a theatrical stunt designed to produce a misleading headline.

The Education Minister is not injecting significant new funding into Indigenous education. He has just combined together existing programs across the education sector and added indexation to give the impression of increased investment.

Most of the other measures in today’s announcement are already in place and will continue with no significant changes.

Brendan Nelson has jumbled all the Indigenous money together to hide the Howard Government's flawed schools’ funding priorities.

While the Howard Government has given the largest funding increases to the wealthiest schools, over the next four years it will cut funding to needy schools like Gnangara Aboriginal Community College in Western Australia in real terms.

5 April 2004

Contact : Caroline Turnour 0408 473 278 (for more information) Shannon Rees 0438 950 375 (for interviews)