Andrews invests as Turnbull cuts education funding
The Australian Education Union says today’s Victorian State Budget demonstrates the Andrews Government is continuing to take significant steps to delivering the Education State. Today’s $1.1 billion outlay for maintenance, upgrading of classrooms and building new schools adds to the investment made in their first year of government.
“The AEU has campaigned for school infrastructure investment over many years. Today’s announcement means more Victorian students will have public schools in their local communities and have learning environments where they can thrive,” said Meredith Peace, President of the Australian Education Union in Victoria.
“For too long our rural and regional schools have been neglected. This budget contains a significant investment of more than $200 million for regional school upgrades and improvements.
“The AEU welcomes the anticipated rollout of the Andrews Government’s Gonski funding commitment for the 2017 school year.
“However Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision to withdraw promised education funding under the Gonski agreement means students will miss out on the individual attention they need. Teachers, principals and support staff will be left juggling classroom demands without the resources they need to support the learning and welfare of all students.
“Both the State and Federal Governments must commit to the full six years of Gonski to make sure Victorian schools get the resources they need. One in five children need additional individual support in the classroom.
“The independent review of school funding completed by former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks highlights the necessity of delivering needs-based funding. The Victorian Government must deliver its share, but Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision to cut Gonski needs-based funding and turn his back on thousands of Victorian students means they will miss out on the support they need.
“The AEU acknowledges the continued rollout of the TAFE rescue fund. To make sure TAFE is the main quality provider of vocational education and training in Victoria, the State Government must ensure that 70 percent of public funding goes to public TAFEs.
“TAFE can only be rebuilt when the Government puts a limit on the taxpayer subsidies it pays out to dodgy private providers. The Government cannot rescue TAFE without addressing the failed private training experiment.
“Evidence continues to mount that for-profit private training providers are ripping off students and failing to provide high quality education and training.
“TAFEs are trusted to deliver the skills and training Victoria needs. TAFE must be restored as the major provider of skills training in Victoria so students can receive the training they need for jobs.
“The Government must act more decisively to put the interests of students and industry first, rather than continuing with a market-based training system that operates in the interests of profit-grabbing private training providers who are ripping off students.
“In early childhood, the budget provides the necessary funding to deliver on the National Partnership Agreement for improved staff to children ratios in preschools. The AEU now calls on the Victorian Government to fully fund three-year-old preschool. At the moment just one-third of Victorian three-year-olds get the early start to help them thrive at school.
“We know the advantages early learning delivers for children both for their school education and beyond, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Preschool fees are too high and should not be a barrier for any child in accessing this vital early education.
“Overall we have seen the Andrews Government make steady progress toward delivering the Education State, but Victorian students are still the lowest-funded in the country.
“The AEU commends the Government’s funding response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, including the $21 million allocated to provide Respectful Relationships programs in preschools and schools.
“The Andrews Government is moving towards delivering the Education State, while the Turnbull Government has no plan for education funding ten weeks out from a federal election, and has refused to deliver the funding it promised,” said Ms Peace.
Media Contact: Elisa Fernandes, 0438 021 203
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