Australian Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has slammed the Federal Government’s announcement today on Catholic and Independent school funding. The Government has announced an extra $4.6 billion for the Catholic and Independent school sectors which the Greens say is a special deal that is just "hush money" for them to stop campaigning against the Government.
Senator Faruqi said:
“This is the worst kind of special deal politics. The Liberals are giving hush money to the Catholic and Independent school sector to buy their silence in upcoming elections. Equity and need should be what guides education funding, not the most noisy lobby group.
“This hand over of more than four billion dollars has nothing to do wtih the needs of students and everything to do with the upcoming Wentworth by-election.
“Billions in extra funding for non-government schools doesn’t end the school funding wars, it inflames it. We know the most disadvantaged schools are public schools, and yet they will miss out with this special deal. Enough of this. It’s time for genuine, needs-based funding for students now.
“There is absolutely no transparency with this money. We have no idea what these schools will spend the money on which is a real slap in the face of public school parents who are crying out for the basics like air-conditioned classrooms and an end to demountables.
“I urge the Prime Minister to sit down with public school parents and explain to them why he can find billions in extra funds to hand out to the overfunded Catholic and Independent schools sector while 87% of public schools won’t be funded to meet their minimum requirements.
“By giving in to the lobbying of the Catholic and Independent schools sector, they have kicked the can down the road. What faith should we have that come the time these schools have to transition to genuine needs-based funding, they won’t run exactly the same kind of campaign to demand more money?" she concluded.