Australian Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has called the Government's so called 'Choice and Affordability" package a private school slush fund. The fund is part of extra money announced for private schools by the Prime Minister in September, which Senator Faruqi has previously described as "hush money".
In Budget Estimates today, the Department confirmed that it was a "decision of Government" and couldn't answer how the figure was $1.2 billion figure was arrived at. The Greens have also confirmed that they will move to disallow the fund and call on the Government to reallocate it to the public system.
Senator Faruqi said:
"What has become pretty clear is the Government plucked the $1.2 billion figure out of thin air as a way to pay off the private school sector.
"This whole program is a farce. There are no rules, no criteria and the Department seems to have no idea how the amount of the enormous $1.2 billion private school slush fund was arrived at.
"The Greens unashamedly believe that with public money, public schools have to come first. It is beyond reprehensible that while one in ten public school classrooms in New South Wales are demountable, the private schools will be getting billions in special funds.
"There is absolutely nothing stopping the schools spending this money to subsidise school fees for wealthy parents. What a slap in the face for public schools.
"The Greens will be moving to disallow this fund as soon as it comes to Parliament," she concluded.