National van tour highlights the Morrison govt’s public school funding crisis

A fleet of Fair Funding Now! vans will visit public schools in marginal electorates across Australia to highlight the $14 billion which has been cut from public school budgets by the Morrison government.

Launched today, the tour will see the bright green vans visit electorates in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania in the lead up to the federal election.

The fleet of 10 vans is the next stage of the Australian Education Union’s Fair Funding Now! campaign. Campaign teams in each van will engage with parents in local communities to deliver a strong message about the clear choice for electing a government that will put their local public schools and students first.

New figures have revealed that the Morrison government’s school funding legislation will actually leave 99% of public schools below the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2023. In fact, fewer than half of all public schools will even reach 95% of the SRS by this date. By contrast, nearly 99% of private schools in Australia will be funded at, or in excess of, the SRS by 2023.

“The impact of these public school funding cuts is much worse than first thought when the federal Liberal government’s school funding legislation was passed in 2017,” said AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe.

“The Morrison Government coerced states into signing its bilateral school funding agreements by threatening to withhold funding for 2019,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Now these agreements leave no prospect for public schools to be funded at 100% of the SRS at any point in the foreseeable future under the Morrison Government. This is a deliberate attack on public schools.”

“The Morrison government’s school funding legislation means that virtually every public school in Australia will not have enough funding to meet the needs of its students for the next five years and beyond,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to use the 2 April Federal Budget to reverse his savage public school funding cuts and restore fairness to public school funding.

AEU’s analysis of school funding has also shown:

  • The ACT is the only state or territory where public schools will be fully funded at 100% of the SRS by 2023. This is 1.3% of all public schools and 1.6% of public school students in Australia.
  • Private schools in NSW, Queensland, ACT, TAS, WA and VIC will be at or exceed 100% of SRS by 2023. SA will be at 99.7 % of the SRS.

Ms Haythorpe said the AEU’s Fair Funding Now! campaign would carry this message to parents in local communities across Australia.

“Public school funding is a key consideration for parents and their voting intentions,” Ms Haythorpe said. “More than eight in 10 respondents to a recent AEU poll said that education will be important in deciding who they will vote for at the upcoming federal election.

“Our fleet of Fair Funding Now! vans will reach out to local communities and drive home the importance of fairly funding public schools to make this election the ‘education election’.”

Ms Haythorpe said the next federal government must put public schools first and prioritise public education funding as a matter of urgency.

“Labor’s federal election commitment to invest $14.1 billion in our public schools will repair much of the damage wreaked by the Morrison government to public school funding. Bill Shorten’s $3.3 billion commitment for public school funding in the first three years is a very welcome game-changer for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said. 

“The Greens’ commitment to 100 per cent SRS funding for public schools is highly commendable and welcomed by the AEU.

“The Federal Coalition’s 2017 school funding legislation is directly responsible for leaving our public schools under-resourced. Our 2.5 million public school students can’t wait. Their schools need that funding now.” 

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