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Funding all schools on the basis of need is the only fair approach.

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Media Release Jenny Macklin MP

Funding all schools on the basis of need is the only fair approach

Labor’s Great Australian Schools policy funds all schools - government, Catholic, Anglican and independent - on the basis of need.

The joint statement released today on behalf of the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne, while describing Labor’s need based approach as “positive” and welcoming additional funding for needy non-government and government schools, misses the mark in a number of areas.

On the basis of need there is no justification for allowing the 67 high fee schools listed in Labor’s policy to continue to receive their massive funding increases when there are so many schools in greater need.

The Howard Government’s unfair schools funding policy, which delivers massive funding increases to the wealthiest schools in the country, is incompatible with funding according to need and will end under Labor.

Labor’s policy returns most of these schools to around the same level of funding they received in 2001 before the Howard Government’s unfair and divisive schools funding policy was implemented.

Labor has signed a Community Charter with Catholic Education authorities to fund all schools on the basis of need. Catholic schools around the country will benefit from a $378 million funding boost under Labor.

Labor’s schools policy has the backing of the National Catholic Education Commission whose chairman Monsignor Tom Doyle welcomed Labor’s policy stating that:

Any initiative that attempts to assist Catholic schools in their ongoing mission of supporting the poor and disadvantaged is to be welcomed. Media Statement ,15 September 2004

Many State Catholic Education directors who are responsible for running Catholic education have also welcomed Labor’s needs based approach to funding schools.

• Catholic Education Victoria director, Susan Pascoe, said Labor had taken a fair approach and that many Victorian Catholic schools, particularly primary, were in dire need of money.

The Age, 16 September 2004

• Catholic Education South Australian director, Allan Dooley, has also welcomed Labor’s policy. The Advertiser, 15 September 2004

• Catholic Education WA director, Ron Dullard, welcomed the package and expected his schools to fare well under the arrangements. He said "It seems to me to be a very fair standard which allows for growth”. The West Australian, 15 September 2004

• Executive Secretary of the Catholic Education Commission in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Geoff Joy, welcomed the announcement. The Canberra Times, 26 September 2004

Schools of all 'faiths' will benefit from Labor's policy - including Christian, Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox and Muslim schools, as well as those without a religious association. The estimated increase of $378 million for Catholic schools in Labor's policy was based entirely on the proportional share of enrolments among schools that will receive needs-based funding.

Labor's resource standard is clear and unambiguous: we want all schools to reach the national resource standard of $9,000 primary and $12,000 secondary by 2012 in current terms. The standard has been developed by a national taskforce, on which the National Catholic Education Commission and the Independent Schools Council of Australia are represented.

The Archbishops' statement that there is a 'cap' on non-government schools' funding is incorrect. Labor has given a commitment to retain all the funding for non-government schools including the current forward estimates, but will redistribute on the basis of need.

28 September 2004

More info: Caroline Turnour 0408 473 278