AEU welcomes the Australian Greens school-funding policy

22 November 2018

A commitment by the Australian Greens to fairly fund Australia’s public school system is welcome acknowledgement that public school students deserve the best opportunities possible in a properly resourced public system.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that the Greens have acknowledged the key commitments sought by the AEU in terms of its Fair Funding Now! campaign.

The campaign calls for the federal government to:

  • reverse Prime Minister Scott Morrion’s $1.9 billion cut to public school funding for 2018 and 2019
  • ensure that every public school in Australia is funded to 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2023 and remove the cap on Commonwealth contributions to public schools
  • establish a $300 million capital fund for public schools to help meet rising enrolment growth and ensure that all students are educated in classrooms and learning spaces where their needs can be met, indexed in line with enrolment growth and rising costs
  • reverse the Morrison government’s cuts to to disability funding in five states and territories. The National School Resourcing Board should also immediately review the three levels of funding for students with disability to better align them with the actual costs of delivering high-quality education

Ms Haythorpe welcomed the Greens commitment to ensure every public school reaches 100% of the SRS by 2023 by removing the cap on Commonwealth contributions to public schools, and by cancelling Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s special funding deals for private schools.

“We commend the Greens for committing to 100 per cent SRS funding for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said. “The Morrison government’s current funding scheme would leave nine out of ten public schools under the SRS by 2023. It is critical that our public schools receive the funding they need to give all students the education they are entitled to under the federal government’s own scheme.”

“The Morrison government’s record of public school budget cuts has left public schools out of pocket by $1.9 billion in 2018 and 2019, and by $14 billion over 10 years,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Greens commitment to reserve 80 per cent, or $320 million per year, of its Capital Grants Fund, for public schools is a welcome announcement which would rectify significant inequity for capital works funding.”

“The Morrison government provides a $1.9 billion capital works funding special deal for private schools but not one dollar for new public school classrooms, gyms, libraries, new technology, art centres or science labs,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Yet it is the public sector which is experiencing significant student enrolment growth and which has a backlog of infrastructure development needed to be able to deliver a state-of-the-art curriculum for our students.”

“Australia’s 2.5 million public school students deserve the same opportunities and facilities to learn and grow as do all other students,” Ms Haythorpe said. “This Capital Grants Fund would provide world-class learning facilities in public schools which would be available to any student, no matter who you are, no matter what you believe, no matter where you are from.”

Ms Haythorpe also welcomed the Greens commitment to reverse cuts to funding for students with a disability and ensure that the disability funding tiers match the actual cost of delivering high quality education to all students.

“Students with disability are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and deserve every opportunity to develop to their potential,” Ms Haythorpe said. “The Morrison government’s cuts to disability funding have a devastating impact on programs in our schools and need to be reversed as soon as possible.”

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison has turned his back on the two thirds of Australian children attending public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Voters must secure the future for our children’s education by making public school funding their top priority at the next federal election.”<ENDS>