Senate debates

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Questions without Notice

Education Funding

2:35 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator McKenzie for her question and for her congratulations. She is another former teacher on this side of the chamber like Senator Lindgren, who asked me a question on teachers and education yesterday. I thank you for the congratulations. I do acknowledge that my colleague and friend from South Australia, Senator Bernardi, marks 10 years tomorrow in his service to this place. I congratulate him.

We have a very clear plan as a government, which Senator McKenzie rightly highlights, to focus on the things that will make a real difference to our children, to our schools, to educational outcomes in Australia. It is a plan that is not just like Labor 's about how much is spent but a plan to ensure we support those who need it most, a plan to ensure that we identify the students who need the earliest intervention at the earliest opportunity and that they get that support, a plan to raise ambition for the study of maths and sciences at the highest level and to ensure that through our schools students actually meet minimum standards in literacy and numerously before they complete their education. It is a plan to reward our most capable teachers to ensure that they are given the financial incentives to stay in schools and to work in our most disadvantaged schools as well. It is a plan that sees funding grow from current record levels well above inflation each and every year into the future but at an affordable rate. It is in contrast to those opposite whose plan is far from affordable. They claim they will spend an extra $30 billion over the next decade in schools, and Ms Ellis confirmed in the House of Representatives just yesterday that the $30 billion would be funded by their cigarette tax. But guess what? Today we find that there is a $20 billion hole in the cigarette tax. That is two in every three dollars that has gone missing from Labor's school funding in just one day. That is why the affordability of our plan is central to the credibility of our plan. (Time expired)


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