Education Funding

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the education minister to update my community on the impacts of not proceeding with the Gonski education funding reforms. David Gonski’s report of 2011 was a vital document for our community and for all of Australia. It has significant relevance to the more than 2100 government schools and independent schools across the sector. It gives a snapshot of some of the challenges that we are facing in a globalised world, where education standards across the nation are slipping. Those standards and that report give us a key indication of the need to act now. If we all subscribe to the notion that every child has the right to a quality education, then the Gonski education funding reforms should be second nature.

Unfortunately I heard the comments of the member for Ringwood which categorised the education minister as not being engaged with the community. The equity funding that was put forward is the absolute equation that we need to be looking at. It is not about putting the Liberal Party first; it is about putting Victorians first, and that is exactly in line with the Gonski education funding reforms’ principles.

This impact is significant on our community. It is estimated that the 20 government schools in my electorate could lose up to $6 million. This would have a significant impact on our community. The Bracks review makes it quite clear that there is a desperate need to invest in our schools because we are cheapening our economy for the future. I have heard members in this place talking about science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning and the focus on education that sets up our children for employment. That could not be any more vital or important.

But we have seen the values of the Liberal Party showcased time and time again, and recently at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meetings, where we saw three days before the COAG process Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull show his hand and say he would be looking to walk away from funding public schools. That is an absolute travesty, but it is a window into the values of the modern-day Liberal Party. It was an absolute window into the values of the modern Liberal Party when we saw the Baillieu and Napthine governments cut funding to and savage education.

We will not be there; we will not be doing that as a government. I would be keen to know from the education minister what Victoria will be doing, and if we do not proceed with the Gonski education funding reforms, how that could affect my community.