House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Questions without Notice


2:27 pm

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to Minister for Education. Will the minister update the House on how our government is standing by Australian families by giving parents greater choice in education?

2:28 pm

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I'd like to thank the member for Robertson for her question. She knows affordable choice is incredibly important when it comes to education. We all want the best for our children. The Liberal and National parties have always believed that the best way to achieve quality in education is by providing choice in education. As John Howard said:

… we have always believed in the unconditional right of Australian parents to choose the nature and the quality of the education they want for their children. We are unashamedly the parties of parental school choice.

Today we announced a package that will continue affordable choice for parents. It includes $3.2 billion to rebalance the schools funding model for non-government schools, as recommended by the National Schools Resourcing Board. I'd like the thank Michael Chaney for the outstanding work he did with regard to that review. There's a new $1.2 billion Choice and Affordability Fund for schools that are low fee or disadvantaged, such as those in drought affected areas. I know the Prime Minister is very, very concerned to ensure that those drought affected families can get assistance when they need it, when it comes to choice for their children in the schools that they are going to.

There is $170.8 million to Catholic and independent schools for interim arrangements to allow schools to plan with confidence for the 2019 school year. Our schools package provides record funding to government schools, record funding to Catholic schools and record funding to independent schools. Over the course of our funding arrangements, funding will increase by 101 per cent for state schools and by 70 per cent for non-state schools. For students, this will mean opportunity to get the best results from school. For parents, it will mean the choice remains affordable. For teachers, it will mean certainty of funding so that they can get on with the job.

What have the independent schools sector said today? They have said that our package has their full support. What has the National Catholic Education Commission said today? They have said, 'The NCEC fully supports the package of measures unveiled today.' On this side of the House, we all believe in the ability for kids to have the best education they can and to make sure that there is affordable choice. But, sadly, we do know that that affordable choice isn't always bipartisan in this place. And we want to make sure that, in your heart of hearts, you agree to this package.