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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 52


Mrs MARINO (ForrestChief Government Whip) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Education. Will the minister update the House on how the government's plan for a strong economy is guaranteeing choice in education to rural and regional families? Is the minister aware of any other proposals?

Mr TEHAN (WannonMinister for Education) (14:47): I'd like to thank the member for Forrest for her question. I know that she knows that the best start in life is a good education, especially when it comes to early childhood or to going through school or to tertiary. The coalition believes in choice in education and choice for parents to provide the best start in life for their children. As a coalition, we know that communities across Australia have different needs, particularly in rural and regional Australia. But rural and regional Australians need choice for their children, whether that be from the government, Catholic or independent sector.

Over the next 10 years this government is committed to growing funding for students in regional and remote Australia from $3.9 billion to $6.8 billion. I think that's worth repeating: from $3.9 billion to $6.8 billion. This is an increase of 74.6 per cent. The Australian government recognises that it generally costs more to educate students going to schools in regional and remote areas. This is why extra funding, called location loading, is provided for students going to schools in regional or remote areas. Under the new funding arrangements, the location loading will continue to apply and, in 2018, is expected to benefit approximately 750,000 students. We know we can, and we will, do more for these students. It's why the coalition commissioned an independent review into regional, rural and remote education. The government's response to the review includes steps to make a lasting and real difference for regional, rural and remote communities.

The government is delivering policies for rural and regional education that promote choice and competition and will deliver results for students. Tomorrow I will attend the Education Council of COAG to discuss with my state and territory colleagues the work ahead to implement reforms. We know that choice is integral to education, wherever you go to school in Australia. The coalition knows the importance of choice. But we also know that, in their heart of hearts, those opposite don't. That is the real difference between us and those opposite. We understand the importance of choice, and we know that you don't. Leader of the Opposition, we know you don't. We will wait and see.

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition?

Ms Plibersek: I wonder if the minister could table the document he's quoting from so extensively?

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen is warned. Is the minister quoting from a confidential document?

Mr TEHAN (WannonMinister for Education) (14:50): Yes.