ACT Labor’s vision for education

On average, Canberrans are the best educated, best paid and healthiest people in Australia.

Every year we are investing record levels of funding in our community, building a stronger local health system, investing in better schools and teachers, maintaining a strong local economy and creating more local jobs than ever before.

As we commence our second century as a city we must grasp the opportunity that it presents to grow our reputation as Australia’s education hub.

ACT Labor wants our schools and students not just to be the best in Australia but the best in the world.

As part of our long term vision for the school education process, ACT Labor has announced our $250 million plan for education over the next four years.  It is a plan to deliver funding to Canberra students according to need, regardless of what school they attend.

This comes on top of the increase on our total spend on education in the latest budget to well over $900 million, with better pay for teachers,  new schools in growing areas, and refurbishments for schools in older areas.

In contrast, the Liberals’ motivation is to divide our education system into two.  We disagree with this divisive approach to education.  Labor has always held at its core that our priority must be to provide education to all.  It’s that simple.

We don’t need election policies which tie funding for schools to the electoral cycle.  We want a system that delivers fairer funding for every single student, always.

These are core Labor values.

That’s why Federal Labor commissioned the Gonski Review of School Funding.  We know the Gonski reforms will deliver fairer funding based on need.  The ACT Labor Government is already working with the Federal Government to transition to a Federal needs-based funding system.  We come to the negotiating table with the core belief that there must be fairer funding for every Canberra student.

The Seselja Liberals do not support this principle.  They will not go to the table with a commitment to deliver fairer funding for all students because they don’t support the Gonski reforms and they don’t believe in funding based on need.

But ACT Labor does.

 

ACT Labor will provide funding across the board in education – for preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary students.

 

First, we’re investing now in the innovative maths, science and technology areas that will drive innovation and economic growth in the future, including:

  • $8.7 million Caroline Chisholm Centre for Numeracy;
  • $1.7 million  Mt Stromlo Science Centre and Planetarium;
  • $6 million in Smart School, Smart Student grants to provide schools and students with innovative ICT grants and library upgrades;
  • $2.5 million for Smart School, Smart Student broadband upgrades in non-government schools;
  • Increasing the existing Secondary Bursary Scheme from $500 to $750 per student, per year to assist with the purchase of hand held or tablet devices; and
  • Expanding CIT’s presence in the Tuggeranong Valley with the new $7.5 million Tuggeranong Learning Centre and working to expand our tertiary sector with the $2 million Study Canberra program.

 

Second, we’re making sure that when it comes to education in the ACT, excellence and equity go in hand-in-hand, with program funding including:

  • $10 million over four years to support students with learning disabilities and disorders, in both mainstream and special school environments;
  • Investing $16 million in needs-based funding to support non-government students over the next four years; and
  • Supporting reform of school funding and working with the Commonwealth to deliver a national funding system that delivers resources based on the needs of individual students.
  • $12 million to maintain and expand the successful School Literacy and Numeracy Field Officer program for students at risk of poor numeracy and English performance;

 

Third, we’re supporting our schools’ superb teachers and enhancing schools’ infrastructure by ensuring there’s more funding for teacher quality, for refurbishing schools in established areas and for building new schools in new areas, including:

  • $70 million to refurbish older schools;
  • $51 million for the new Coombs Primary School and $2.3 million for Moncrieff forward planning;
  • $4 million for more study support for our teachers;
  • $1 million to revitalise our public school canteen system;
  • $400,000 to provide more support and further engage parents in their kids’ preschool education and their school community;
  • $500,000 for water bottle refill stations and to supply reusable drink bottles for schools;
  • $390,000 for the Active Kids program to promote healthy eating and exercise in primary schools; and
  • $28 million to upgrade and refurbish Belconnen High School.

 

Only ACT Labor will implement education programs that are evidence-based, enjoy community support and will deliver better education outcomes for all students.

Only ACT Labor is investing an additional $250 million in education because only ACT Labor has a real, long-term vision for our schools and students.