The Australian Education Union has welcomed new investment in public schools and preschools announced by the Victorian government today, but is disappointed with the failure to adequately address TAFE funding.
The Andrews government’s 2022–23 state budget offers significant further investment in Victoria’s public schools and staff, including an extra 2000 teachers; a welcome funding boost to support students with disability; and record investment in new buildings and infrastructure.
Its budget also continues the government’s important investment in 15 hours a week of preschool education for all three and four-year-olds in Victoria.
However, despite important investment in recent years, Victorians who rely on TAFEs to provide the vocational education they need will be disappointed with this budget, says AEU Victoria president Meredith Peace.
“The state government’s own review makes it plain that Victoria’s TAFEs are not funded to cover the full cost of training. This budget does nothing to address this funding shortfall,” she says.
“Greater investment is needed to ensure high-quality student learning and to attract and retain the next generation of TAFE teachers.”
The overall investment by the Andrews government in public education stands in stark contrast to the cuts and lack of investment by the federal Morrison government.
“As treasurer and prime minister, Scott Morrison has abandoned public education, leaving public schools underfunded without the resources needed to ensure every child in every school has access to the quality education they deserve,” says Ms Peace.
Scott Morrison has abandoned public education, leaving public schools underfunded without the resources needed to ensure every child in every school has access to the quality education they deserve.
“Last week, the AEU released a report detailing the staggering number of special deals the Morrison government has been making with private schools, while actively ignoring public schools and the students they serve. This is nothing short of reprehensible and irresponsible.
“The AEU has repeatedly called for the federal and state governments to ensure that public schools are funded to at least 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) – the minimum amount each student needs according to the needs-based funding model proposed by Gonski over a decade ago.
“The expiry of the current Bilateral Agreement in 2023 will provide an opportunity to renegotiate SRS funding targets. It is a chance for the Victorian government to commit to delivering their share of the necessary funding and to continue to lobby the next federal government to remove the 20% cap on their portion of funding for government schools.”