Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Statements by Senators

Education: Funding

1:37 pm

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

The Minister for Education, the Hon. Jason Clare, has recently said:

Australia has a good education system, but it can be a lot better and a lot fairer.

I have to say that with this minister I most heartily agree. How we fund our schools and what funding does is integral to making schools the best that they can be. In this regard, I'm pleased to say that this government is getting on with the work of meeting our election commitment to work with the states and territories to get every school funded to 100 per cent of its fair funding level. Let me put on the record, colleagues here in the Senate and those who are attending parliament, that there is an incredible amount of work that needs to be done to redress the ripping apart of fair funding that was the signature of the previous government.

We anticipate that, over the next six years, those non-government schools that are being funded above the school resourcing standard will return to baseline and, at the same time, government schools in most parts of the country will hit 95 per cent of the standard. Per-student Commonwealth funding for government schools went up by seven per cent over the past year, from $3,829 per student in 2022 to $4,096 per student in 2023. It's a very sound investment in our nation, in our people and in our future.

Furthering this, the government is listening to parents, carers, teachers, unions and students, and this has included more than 13,000 educators, 8,000 parents and close to 3,000 students. The common thread here is a government that's listening, is aware of the challenges and is taking concrete steps to ensure the next national school reform agreement does its job.