Tanya Plibersek last night abandoned any pretence that Labor’s schools funding would be distributed fairly between states and school sectors.
Patricia Karvelas: What are you prepared to raise it [the Commonwealth’s school investment] to and will it be a consistent amount between states?
Tanya Plibersek: Well, the consistency argument from the government is absolute nonsense…
Patricia Karvelas: So, you don’t think consistency does matter to be clear?
Tanya Plibersek: No…
(Interview on ABC 24 National Wrap, 8/4/18)
What’s ‘nonsense’ is the idea that states that put in more funding for their schools should be punished by the Commonwealth with less investment, and those who shift the burden of funding onto the Commonwealth should be rewarded.
That’s exactly what led to Labor’s 27 special schools funding deals under the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government.
Those special deals saw a state like Western Australia set for just 14.9 per cent of Commonwealth funding of the School Resourcing Standard (SRS) compared to much higher rates in other states and territories. It meant a student in WA received up to $2,100 less from the Commonwealth than if they went to the exact same school with the exact same cohort of students in another state or territory.
It is clear that Labor see schools funding as little more than a tool for vote buying rather than a policy that should be based on principle and need.
When pressed on what Labor’s nonsense policy would mean for each state and territory, parents with children in government schools across Australia were still left in the dark.
Patricia Karvelas: Ok, but you don’t know yet how much higher than 20 per cent the Commonwealth would invest under Labor?
Tanya Plibersek: Well, we’re looking at getting to a fair funding level for every child in every school right across Australia.
The Turnbull Government funding plan is fully funded, transparent and truly needs-based and commits the Commonwealth to funding a consistent 20 per cent of the SRS for government schools for every state and territory.
Following the Review led by David Gonski, we’re also ensuring schools and teachers are armed with the most effective methods and reforms to use the Turnbull Government’s record and growing funding to deliver better outcomes for Australian students.
The Turnbull Government’s clear plan stands in stark contrast to the ominous signs that Tanya Plibersek and Labor will cut special deals meaning funding will be based on where students live rather than their actual learning needs.