Senate debates

Monday, 19 June 2017

Questions without Notice

Schools

2:06 pm

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

I thank Senator Williams for his question and his focus, in particular, on support from New South Wales. Of course, we saw support from New South Wales on day one of the announcement of the Turnbull government's commitment to schools funding, with David Gonski himself coming out and providing support for the Turnbull government's reforms. David Gonski's endorsement has been backed, time and again, by the other members of the Gonski panel, those people who the Labor Party hand-picked to do a reform package in relation to school funding. But then those opposite chose to ignore what that panel said. David Gonski, Ken Boston and Kathryn Greiner—they have all come along and said, 'It would be a tragedy if the Turnbull government's legislation is defeated,' and yet Labor continue to refuse to listen to those individuals.

Today the former education minister in New South Wales, Adrian Piccoli, who has been a strong advocate indeed for needs based funding and at times a critic of the government, has urged the parliament to pass the Turnbull government's funding. He said:

We have arrived at a crucial moment for education funding and I am calling on Labor and the Greens not to play obstructionist politics.

…   …   …

It's in the interests of our children to have a fair funding model and this model makes it fairer.

Mr Piccoli absolutely got it right. He is joined by the New South Wales Secondary Principals' Council, who have said:

… it's fantastic that we've got the Turnbull Government coming out and engaging with David Gonski and looking at really a genuine commitment to needs-based funding… I think it's great that there's a move away from 27 separate funding models …

Those are the 27 models, deals and special arrangements that those opposite put in place. But those 27 different models create distortions, inequities and unfairness which the Turnbull government, with our $18.6 billion in extra funding, are determined to wipe away and ensure we have fair, consistent, needs based funding, as David Gonski recommended. (Time expired)

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