Thursday, 16 August 2007
Statements by Members
Again in the local papers the New South Wales Teachers Federation are attacking me. They have announced that a group of teachers and parents are in Parliament House—this, of course, is incorrect: there is one teacher and one parent—expressing keen disappointment that I have not been prepared to take up their issues. It is true that a number of schools have written to me about funding. I think the Teachers Federation have run one of the most dishonest public campaigns that I have ever witnessed. They suggest that public schools receive less funding than private schools.
The truth is that public schools overwhelmingly get money from the state government and from the federal government and private schools overwhelmingly get money from the federal government and a small component from the state government. No public school—high school or primary school—receives less taxpayer funding from both sources than the private schools in my electorate. I refuse to campaign on the basis that private schools in my electorate should get zero funding and all taxpayer funding should go to public schools.
Mr Newbold, who is the federation rep at Rooty Hill, has said that there has been a long campaign to get a library at Rooty Hill High School, and that is true. But I am pleased to say that we—that is, Richard Amery, me, the principal, the former school captain Patrick Keating and the students in the community—have been very successful, and it is well underway. Mr Newbold never mentions in his press release that the federal government has contributed $2.343 million or 60 per cent of the funding for that particular project.
I value what is done at Rooty Hill High School. I was recently there for the induction of the new school leaders. I was particularly pleased that Sylvester Aben, whom I had seen in a detention centre, has now been given a leadership position at that school. Indeed, the school principal has been recognised with an award for the leadership she provides. I will stand by public schools and I will advocate for public schools, but I am not going to do it to the detriment of private schools.