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Opposition scare campaign on education

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Minister for School Education

Peter Garrett

Opposition scare campaign on education

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Tony Abbott has shown his inability to read a budget paper with alarmist and inaccurate claims about school education programs designed to mislead parents and schools.

To be clear - the Gillard Government has made no cuts to school education.

The Gillard Government’s commitment to education is crystal clear; in 2012-13 the Gillard Government will spend $29 billion on education compared to $18 billion in the last year of the Liberal Government - that’s a 61 per cent increase.

What MYEFO shows is the impact of the broken school funding system that the Opposition has repeatedly said they want to keep - the same model that was established under the Howard Government and has been proven by the Gonski review to be flawed and unsustainable.

Under this model when state governments reduce or slow their spending in school education this automatically flows through to commonwealth indexation.

That is exactly what happened with the 2012 indexation figure dropping to 3.9% and we can expect this to fall further due to the $2.8 billion cuts to education announced by state Liberal Governments.

We want to see a new way of indexing school funding under the National Plan for School Improvement - one that provides schools with more certainty and less volatility arising from state government funding decisions.

It’s time Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne explained why this flawed model is one they want to keep.

That’s why the Government has a National Plan for School Improvement. We want to see more money invested in our schools, and a new, stable rate of funding indexation which will give schools longer-term certainty over how much funding they will get every year.

These are the facts:

 Funding for Trade Training Centres (TTCs) remains the same at $2.5 billion. Every school that wants to participate in the program can still do so. Joe Hockey has confirmed a Liberal Government will abolish the program completely - leaving thousands of secondary students without access to a trade education while still at school.

 Implementation of the TTC program is well progressed: $1.2 billion has been invested since 2008 to fund more than 370 projects, benefitting more than 1070 schools around Australia.

 Reward funding for the Teacher Quality National Partnership remains intact and will be paid when it falls due, now expected to be in early 2013-14 due to the renegotiation of reward milestones.

 Teach for Australia will receive $6.4 million more funding, which has been re-directed from Teach Next.

This week’s budget update also includes new funding for education programs, including the Let’s Read National Early Literacy Campaign, Education for Sustainability and Indigenous Ranger Cadetships.

Tony Abbott needs to get his facts straight before making these misleading claims that only serve to unnecessarily alarm parents, students and schools.

The Gillard Government is prepared to make a substantial investment over time to deliver this plan for better schools provided states and territories contribute their fair share and agree to the national plan for school improvement.

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