Australian Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has called on Labor to join the Greens in working to ensure that the $4.6 billion special deal with the Catholic and Independent schools is redirected to public school funds. Labor has said that they will not tear up the special deal and indeed, are even claiming credit for it.
The need to rebalance public funding of education to public schools has been reinforced by the Australian Education Union who have released figures today showing that Australia’s most disadvantaged government schools receive at least $10,000 less per student in government funding than equivalent Catholic schools.
Senator Faruqi said:
“It is really disappointing that Labor haven’t come out strongly and condemned the political deal that will mean billions more in public money going to the Catholic and Independent school sector instead of public schools. The reality is that billions going to the non-government sector is billions that public schools are missing out on.
“Labor can’t have it both ways on this. They can’t welcome billions for already overfunded private schools and then just cross their fingers that money might appear for public schools. We are looking carefully at our options in Parliament to demand the Government come back with a fair deal for public education.
“I urge Labor to join the Greens in demanding that the $4.6 billion special deal with the Catholic and Independent schools is redirected to public school funds. We will look at ways to shred the deal in Parliament and ask the Government to come back with fair funding for public education.
“Analysis from the Grattan Institute has made it clear that this funding is all about keeping Catholic school fees down in wealthy areas. This funding is ten times more than what is needed to support Catholic schools in lower socio-economic areas. How on earth can anyone in the Labor or Liberal parties justify subsidising Catholic school fees over funding public schools crying out for more funding.
“The Australian Education has released figures that Australia’s most disadvantaged government schools are already receiving at least $10,000 less per student in government funding than equivalent Catholic schools. This is absolutely scandalous.
“Labor and Liberal and both guilty of making grubby deals with the non-government sector to buy their silence for funding reform. It’s time for us to get serious about funding all public schools and ensuring they have the resources they need.
“The Prime Minister keeps going on about choice. Choice in education would be best supported by ensuring that every student has the option of a well funded and world class public education,” she concluded.