Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Matters of Public Importance
That is a lot of schools, Senator Wright. That is a lot of teachers, Senator O'Neill. That is a lot of infrastructure that could have been done.
I would like to put some facts onto the Hansard record. The Abbott government is providing $2.8 billion of additional funding to schools over the next four years, beginning in financial year 2014. Total Commonwealth funding to schools is estimated to be $60 billion over the next four financial years. The Abbott government is providing 75 per cent more in additional funding to schools compared to the previous government. I know you do not like to hear it, but it is a fact. We are also increasing Commonwealth funding for government schools, on average by 10 per cent per student over the four years. Senator Wright, I hope you are listening. We are only increasing funding to non-government schools students on average by five per cent, so those students in state government schools are receiving more of our attention, because we do recognise a parent's capacity to pay.
We have made a mockery of the claim that Gonski exists. What we inherited—contrary to the false claims perpetuated by the $20 million education media campaign prior to the election—was different funding arrangements across the three schooling sectors, public, Catholic and independent, and 27 different models. There was not one Gonski model at all, and we had nine governments which had been unable to come up with an agreement with the previous federal government because of the dysfunctional way it approached this particular vexed question.
If we want to go to international comparisons, it is about all of us as a nation deciding the things that need to be done—based on evidence, based on research—that will have a positive impact on the educational outcomes of Australian students. Simply boiling it down to it being all about more money, Senator Wright, ignores the international evidence.