Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 August 2021



1:44 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to remark on the Global Partnership for Education Replenishment, which happened in London last week, very ably chaired and led by former Prime Minister of our great country Julia Gillard. As Benjamin Franklin once said, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Australia's investment in that recent GPE replenishment, an amount of $180 million over five years, will pay untold dividends in the lives of thousands and thousands of children. While this wasn't the full $70 million per year that was requested by the GPE, our contribution will nonetheless make a great difference.

I want to acknowledge Kevin Andrews, who, with me, co-chairs the Parliamentary Friends of Education. He garnered the signatures of 40 Australian parliamentarians—from both the Senate and the House and from all parties and the crossbench—to encourage Senator Payne, as the foreign minister, to make this commitment. I acknowledge the efforts of every single one of those colleagues and I thank Senator Payne for making that important commitment on behalf of the Australian people. Overall, the global education summit raised no small sum—$4 billion was committed, which is 80 per cent of the target that they sought to reach, with countries like Australia making a contribution.

I also want to acknowledge the 19 heads of state of recipient countries who pledged to spend $192 billion of their domestic education budget to boost education outcomes. We know that the money that is invested by Australia will be very significant in changing the life outcomes of young people in our friend countries across the Pacific—in particular, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga. It will build schools, make sure the systems are robust, and give kids the chance to not only get to school but receive a quality qualification.