Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic yesterday joined Prime Minister Julia Gillard and School Education Minister Peter Garrett to listen to the concerns of Catholic and Independent school representatives about cuts to schools in NSW.
Mr Husic said the meeting was an opportunity for us to discuss the impact of funding cuts to education by the NSW Liberal Government including a funding freeze for non government schools.
The delegation included the Catholic Bishop of Parramatta Bishop Anthony Fisher OP.
“It defies belief that the NSW Liberal Government could one week agree to work with us to implement our National Plan for School Improvement, then the next week cut almost $2 billion from education,” Mr Husic said.
“We were told that cuts to funding for non-government schools will mean higher fees, bigger classes and fewer curriculum choices.
“What has also shocked non-government schools is that the move came suddenly, without warning – and that Public, Catholic and Independent Schools will all suffer.
“The NSW Government’s education cuts also hit TAFEs, increasing TAFE fees by up to $150 for students.
“The Gillard Government is prepared to invest more in our schools over time to achieve our goal of making our education system among the world’s top five, but that has to be a shared goal. State and territory governments need to pay their fair share.
“We will not allow increased Commonwealth funding to be used as a substitute for reductions in state funding to schools.”
The Prime Minister and Catholic and Independent School representatives agreed on the need to progress school funding reform to ensure every school would see its funding rise.
“We are determined to deliver these essential school funding reforms for the benefit of students across the country,” Mr Husic said.