Turnbull Playing With Our Kids' Future

06 April 2017

Victorian schools and kinders are still in the dark as to whether Malcolm Turnbull will provide the funds they need to help struggling students and families.

Minister for Families & Children Jenny Mikakos represented the Andrews Labor Government at the first Education Ministerial Council meeting of 2017 in Hobart today where Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham provided no report or formal policy to consider.

Instead, he has written to state and territory education ministers at the last minute saying that today’s meeting will be a trial run with “further discussions” to occur just prior to the Premier’s COAG meeting held in June. When the states are crying out for action, Simon Birmingham and Malcolm Turnbull are providing yet more talk.

The further discussions that have been flagged will be after the Federal Budget, meaning state and territory education ministers will have no real input into the school funding model. The Turnbull Government is treating every Victorian school, student and their families with contempt.

When last year’s Federal Budget was handed down Federal Liberals walked away from funding the final two years of the Gonski Agreement - leaving Victorian students almost $1 billion a year worse off every year from 2018.

At the time, Simon Birmingham stated that a sustainable education funding policy would be in place by early 2017. But April has arrived with no formal policy to discuss and a pitiful amount of funding on the table via an increase to indexation only.

The Labor Government has had to do the heavy lifting instead, investing an extra $5 billion into Victoria’s education system over the last two years. This includes $566 million in additional funding for the schools that need it most.

This funding has allowed schools to employ more teachers, speech pathologists and psychologists, provide literacy and numeracy aids, and set up programs to help students struggling with reading, writing and maths.

This funding is already making a difference in our schools and the research behind the Gonski funding model shows the full benefits will show in the final two years of the agreement.

Ms Mikakos also used the meeting to call on Malcolm Turnbull to come to the table with a new national partnership on kinder which sees the states fund ten hours and the Commonwealth five hours.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families & Children Jenny Mikakos

“This is typical of Malcolm Turnbull and his government – yet more talk, without any action.”

“Victorian schools, students and parents still have no idea if the homework clubs, extra teachers and reading and maths programs will continue because Malcolm Turnbull refuses to put a funding offer on the table.”

“This is on top of our schools and students being almost $1 billion a year worse off from 2018 thanks to Malcolm Turnbull’s disgraceful cuts to education funding.”

“If Turnbull doesn’t come up with a new agreement for 15 hours of kinder, Victorian parents could pay an extra $2000 a year for alternative childcare arrangements and hundreds of kinder staff could be out of a job.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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