Morrison government must put public schools first

28 August 2018

New Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan will have absolutely no positive impact in his portfolio if he persists with the Morrison government’s policy of cutting billions of dollars from federal public school funding.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that the most urgent issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Min. Tehan was to reverse the savage funding cuts that have been imposed on public schools by the Morrison government, not to give more money to private schools.

Under the Morrison government:

  • $1.9 billion has been cut from public school funding in 2018 and 2019
  • the federal government has arbitrarily capped public school funding at only 20 percent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) while private schools receive 80 percent
  • only 13 per cent of public schools will receive enough funding to reach the minimum Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2023

“Sending out a new education minister to prosecute the same old, tired policies will do nothing to fix the public school funding cuts imposed under the previous Minister,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison will only be shuffling the deckchairs if he maintains the Coalition’s current course on public school funding cuts.”

“Mr Morrison must change course and restore the $1.9 billion in funding he took from the public school budget for 2018 and 2019. If he does not restore funding fairness to the Australian school system, he will have to answer to parents at the upcoming federal election,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The Prime Minister was quoted saying he hoped Min. Tehan would “get a resolution before not too long" to fix his government’s problems with the Catholic school sector over school funding.

“It is unbelievable that Prime Minister Morrison and Minister Tehan would focus on resolving the Catholic school funding ‘issue’, when the real issue is with the 2.5 million public school students who have been forgotten by this government,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Under the current federal government’s schools funding arrangement, 70 percent of private schools already receive extra funding via special funding deals with the Morrison government,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Min. Tehan’s appointment to the education portfolio creates the opportunity for him to show leadership by engaging in broad consultation with the teaching profession about school funding and professional issues, something that has been sadly lacking under the previous Minister Simon Birmingham.

“The AEU will be seeking meetings with Minister Tehan at the first opportunity to discuss fair funding for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.