Morrison budget continues to underfund Victorian schools

Last night’s federal budget fails public education and the millions of students who attend public preschools, schools and TAFE.

Mr Morrison’s idea of a fair go is to:

  • cut billions from public schools and give billions extra to private schools
  • insult parents and early childhood educators by drip feeding funding for four-year-old preschool programs for one more year
  • cut $3 billion from TAFE over the last six years, then allocate a paltry $500 million for vocational education, with no reference anywhere to public TAFEs.

After six years of funding cuts and uncertainty we know the Coalition has no commitment to public education.

“Mr Morrison’s school funding plan will leave 99 per cent of public schools below the schooling resource standard. That means our students continue to miss out on one-on-one support, additional literacy and numeracy programs, smaller class sizes and extra support for students with disability. That’s his idea of a fair go,” said Meredith Peace, Australian Education Union Victorian Branch president.

“The Morrison Government cut $1.9 billion from public schools in 2018 and 2019 alone. Victorian students are missing out on the programs they need, as a result of these cuts. Two thirds of Australian school students attend public schools, yet the Morrison government has turned its back on these children.

“The Morrison Government’s budget yet again treats our early childhood sector with disdain. They continue to deliver funding uncertainty for parents, teachers and educators with their annual drip feed of funding for four-year-old programs and have ignored the global move to ensure every child has access to two years of preschool.

“Two years of preschool for every three and four-year-old child sets them up for life, and helps them develop the cognitive, emotional and social skills they need to be ready for school and to have a successful and productive future.

“The Morrison Government’s budget cuts have done untold damage to the TAFE sector. Despite the welcomed investment in TAFE by the Andrews government in Victoria, our TAFE sector continues to be undermined by the lack of commitment to public TAFEs by the Morrison government,” said Ms Peace.

“A last minute pre-election commitment to a new apprenticeship scheme does nothing to address the real needs of the public TAFE system, or provide real opportunities for students to develop the skills they need to access real jobs.

“Australia needs strong TAFEs for public provision of vocational education. At least 70% of all government funding for vocational education must be provided to TAFE to ensure we have the skilled workforce we need now, and in the future.

Yesterday, AEU Victorian Branch took our message to Canberra, planting thousands of ‘school buildings’ representing every public school in Australia outside Parliament House in a spectacular display as part of the Fair Funding Now! campaign to win fair funding for public schools.

The AEU Victorian Branch will continue to campaign on these issues in the lead up to the federal election. This will include a national advertising campaign reminding voters about the failure of the Morrison government to fairly fund public schools. The campaign will include television, radio, newspapers, online and social media and billboards, targeted at marginal seats across the country.

The Victorian Fair Funding Now! vans have already made over 80 visits to schools, markets, train stations and education forums in Chisholm, Dunkley, La Trobe and Corangamite. As well as visiting the regional areas of Kilmore, Seymour, Shepparton, Numurkah, Echuca, Rochester, Wangaratta, Benalla and Wodonga.

During these visits, the message has been very clear, fair funding is desperately needed to support students in their learning; smaller class sizes, specialist support in literacy and numeracy, extra resources, welfare support and speech therapy some of the needs being identified.

Media contact: Aliya Ahmad 0428 684 307

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