For everyone Federal Budget an important step towards what’s possible

  • This article was published more than 11 months ago.
  • 10 May 2023

Full funding for public schools in Central Australia in the Federal 2023-24 Budget is a small but vital step towards the federal Labor government’s promise to reach full funding for every school. Until that happens, the underfunding of our public schools remains “a national shame”, says AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe.

One of the Federal Budget’s smallest commitments was $40 million to ensure every school in Central Australia is fully funded. Australian Education Union has welcomed the commitment, which could represent one of the most important steps forward for the future of Australian public schools.

“While $40 million may not be much compared to other Federal Budget commitments, it’s important that we’re clear about what it represents,” says Ms Haythorpe.

“For public school students in Central Australia, it represents full funding to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) in the region. That funding will help deliver more teachers, more education support staff, and more one on one individual attention for students.

“For public schools across the country, it is the first, albeit small, step towards the delivery of Federal Labor’s 2022 election commitment  to get every public school on the pathway to 100% of the SRS. But it cannot be the only step.”

The AEU is calling on federal Labor to truly deliver Prime Minister Albanese’s stated vision for Australia.

“The Northern Territory has the highest level of student need: 44% of students are First Nations and 26% of students have a disability and receive educational adjustments. However, right now the education of one in five public school students in the Northern Territory is effectively unfunded.

“It’s one in ten public school students across the nation. That is a national shame,” says Ms Haythorpe.

The AEU is calling on federal Labor to truly deliver Prime Minister Albanese’s stated vision for Australia, where no one is held back and no one is left behind. His government must deliver 100% of the SRS funding – the minimum benchmark agreed to by all governments – for every Australian public school.

“AEU members will not accept anything less than full and fair funding for public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The AEU has welcomed the “huge step forward for the nation’s TAFE institutions” care of the Federal Budget.

ON TAFE

The AEU has welcomed the “huge step forward for the nation’s TAFE institutions” care of the 2023 Federal Budget. The Government has made a $4.1 billion commitment, including $3.7 billion for the next national skills agreement, a life-changing document for our members as it sets up the framework for a strong and vibrant TAFE system for the future.

“We welcome the spirit of collaboration between the Commonwealth and the states and territories evident in the negotiations for the next national skills agreement and the Albanese government’s commitment to ensuring TAFE is at the heart of vocational education, supported by long-term, sustainable and stable funding.”

ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

The AEU is disappointed that this Federal Budget does not include funding to extend universal access to preschool to three-year-olds across Australia (something already available to all three and four-year-olds in Victoria).

“This flies in the face of all available evidence that shows two years of high-quality, play-based early learning delivered by a qualified teacher helps set children up for a lifetime of benefits in education, health and wellbeing.

“This funding must be provided for the benefit of all Australian children and their families.”

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