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Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Page: 9629

Schools


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:33): My question is to the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Birmingham. Can the minister outline how the Turnbull government is delivering record and growing levels of needs based funding for public schools across New South Wales, including Ryde Public School, in the electorate of Bennelong?


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Education and Training) (14:33): I thank Senator McKenzie for her question. The Turnbull government is proudly supporting additional assistance to schools right around Australia—including in New South Wales, which the senator has asked about. Indeed, New South Wales public schools in the government system are going to benefit from growth of some 5.8 per cent per student per annum over the next four years. That's an increase of some $535 million over four years. This strong growth is flowing through to individual schools.

The senator asked about Ryde Public School in particular. That school will see funding growth from around $2,300 per student up to some $3,600 per student. That is just one of many. Arndell School, which is also in the electorate of Bennelong, will see growth from $9,700 per student to $14,700 per student. That's an increase of over $5,000 per student, driven by the individual needs of that school. Rydalmere East Public School will equally see growth, from $2,900 per student to $4,500. Epping Boys High School, which is a large school with more than 1,100 students, will see growth from $2,600 per student to more than $4,000.

This is strong real growth enabling those schools to put additional resources into helping their students and assisting their teachers to deliver what those schools need. Of course, it stands in stark contrast to the Labor candidate for Bennelong, Kristina Keneally, who as Premier was happy to cut $318 million out of schools in New South Wales. The Turnbull government and John Alexander are putting extra funding into New South Wales schools where Kristina Keneally was more than happy to cut it.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McKenzie, a supplementary question.



Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:35): Is the minister aware of any false or misleading information being spread about the government's real needs based funding for New South Wales public schools?


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Education and Training) (14:35): You have heard the one about lies, damn lies. They might as well change the saying to 'Lies, damn lies and the Australian Labor Party', because the Australian Labor Party and their trade union mates are out in Bennelong trying to whip up a scare campaign based on lies, based on blatant mistruths. There is some $1.67 billion of extra funding flowing into New South Wales government schools and yet only the Australian Labor Party would believe that $1.67 billion more was a cut. It's no wonder that they managed to drive the budget into the deficit they created—no wonder they racked up the debt they did—when they think $1.67 billion more is a cut. But they are the lies that go out. They are happy to tell lies and spread mistruths. They are happy to try to claim government on the back of lies. We will not stand for it. We'll make sure that voters understand the growing funding available. (Time expired)

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! I will call Senator McKenzie when there is some semblance of silence.

Senator Watt: I hope this question is about the regions.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Watt, that wasn't helpful.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left.

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my right now, please. Senator McKenzie is on her feet. Senator McKenzie, a final supplementary question.







Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:37): Can the minister update the Senate on how the Turnbull government's growing needs based funding will help schools to support the individual needs of their students?

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Education and Training) (14:37): I'm happy to take Senator Collins's interjection because students with disability will receive $22.7 billion across the country. That's what we are providing.

Senator Jacinta Collins: Good. What are you hiding?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins!

Senator BIRMINGHAM: And, of course, New South Wales students will receive their fair share of that $22.7 billion. We are delivering needs based funding that ensures that students with disability get extra support—

Senator Jacinta Collins: More fantasy figures. You've got no credibility, Simon.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins!

Senator BIRMINGHAM: that students from Indigenous backgrounds get extra support, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds get extra support, students from smaller rural and regional areas—a particular interest of Senator McKenzie—get extra support.

Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins!

Senator BIRMINGHAM: We are making sure that a needs based model, as recommended by David Gonski, is implemented, not the type of bastardised 27 different special deals that those opposite were happy to sign up to. That, of course, was the process.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Birmingham, please resume your seat.

Senator Jacinta Collins: You've got 30, Simon.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins! Senator Williams, on a point of order.

Senator Williams: Mr President, that's the fourth time in the last 15 seconds you've said 'Senator Collins'. She pays no attention to you when you're trying to quieten her down. We're trying to listen to a good, sensible answer. Will you please quieten Senator Collins down so that we can actually hear the answer?

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Williams. Senator Collins, I have called you to order a number of times in this minute-long supplementary question answer. You are a bit further away from me and might not be able to hear me. I might have to be louder. Senator Birmingham concluding his answer.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: The simple truth is more funding for students in Bennelong, more funding for students across New South Wales and more funding for students across Australia based on need, and nothing but shameless lies from those opposite.