House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Questions without Notice

Education Funding

2:36 pm

Photo of Geoff LyonsGeoff Lyons (Bass, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the National Plan for School Improvement and what will this mean to schools in my electorate and across Tasmania?

2:37 pm

Photo of Julia GillardJulia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Bass for his question. I know that he is very focused on the quality of schools in his electorate. I have had the opportunity to talk with him about that and I have had the opportunity when I have visited with him to talk about local schools and to meet those people from local schools. I can advise the member for Bass that, just like we want to invest in and improve schools around the country, we want to do that in his electorate. We want to do it right across Tasmania.

I do not want to see Tasmanian students being left behind as schools, for example in New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia, are improved with not only new money but also, importantly, new ways of working—ways of improving schools that we have proved make a difference—because we have done it in national partnership schools where we can say today that more children read, more children write, more children do maths at satisfactory standards because of the investments and reforms brought under this government's program for change.

Now we want to take that program for change right around the country, including to schools in Tasmania. We have calculated with the best information available to us what our school improvement agenda will mean in Tasmania. Take one example from the member's electorate—Prospect High School: currently it receives around $7.5 million in total public funding. Under our plan that will increase by over 30 per cent with an extra $2.3 million. This will see an increase of substantial proportions because this is a school with a high number of children from poorer backgrounds, and I want those kids to get a great education too. It is those schools, indeed, every school, that I do not want to see left behind.

For this week, the agenda for the nation, for this parliament, is whether or not we will come together to improve Australian schools. Premier O'Farrell has already proved that every Liberal does not need to be a wrecker. I am calling on Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to sign up to our plan for school improvement and new resources. It follows from what I have said in answer to the member for Bass's question that I believe Tasmania must sign up too. This parliament must pass our legislation. This will be the defining moment of this week; a defining moment when our nation endorses a better future for our children and, as a result, a stronger, smarter and fairer country for the future.