Thursday, 14 February 2019
Statements by Members
I want to note the government's announcements today on Indigenous education and say that I'm sure that every member of this chamber supports the effort to close the gap in education. But there is so much more that we could do.
The government should not have axed the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative when it came to office—a program that helped Indigenous Australians become teachers working in their own communities. The government should match our plan to restore the $14 billion cut from public schools—big funding increases for our neediest schools, including schools with high Indigenous enrolments—because public schools teach 84 per cent of Indigenous students, and around 80 per cent of Indigenous Australians live in urban areas. Indigenous Australians have to have a great education no matter where they live. The remote Warruwi school in the Northern Territory, which the member for Warringah visited last year, has about 80 students, 100 per cent of whom are Indigenous. They would get an extra $180,000 of funding under the first three years of a Labor government alone.
The government should commit to funding preschool for four-year-olds, but they should join Labor in extending universal access to preschool to three-year-olds as well. They should match our plan to uncap uni places, because the last time we had uncapped uni places Indigenous enrolments increased by 90 per cent. And they should match our University Future Fund, including the $20 million to build Australia's first Indigenous residential college at the University of Technology in Sydney.