Australian Greens Senator and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has rejected the government’s bizarre cash incentives for private schools to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This is yet another special deal for private schools. Ninety-nine percent of public schools are underfunded as they work to support kids and families through this pandemic. Their students need urgent investment, not the 99% of private schools that are overfunded.
“What the Minister proposes is a bizarre approach to both school funding and public health.
“School re-openings should be based on considerations of the health and wellbeing of students and teachers, as well as careful discussions with school communities, not on whether private school boards are willing to accept bribes from the Minister in the form of advance funding.
“It is despicable of the government to try and put pressure on public schools in this way.
“We know the combination of economic conditions and exorbitant fees at private schools is very likely to cause student withdrawals. An advance for next year based on current enrolments will inevitably include money for students that won't be there.
“This comes only weeks after the Liberals and Labor pushed $3.4 billion in additional private school funding through parliament during an emergency COVID-19 sitting.
“Days after indicating that Newstart payments would return to below the poverty line, the government has found money in its back pocket to pay out billions of dollars to private schools ahead of schedule,” she said.