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The Prime Minister visits Bondi Public Primary School with the Minister for Education and Training

26th May 2017  |  Comments  |  Videos, Transcripts

Friday, 26 May 2017

 E&OE…

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s great to be here at Bondi Public, to see all these bright young children - great minds, the nation’s future - dedicated teachers, a charismatic headmaster.

This school, ten years ago, had only 70 students and was expected to be closed. But due to great leadership from the principal, great staff, passionate parents and the community, it now has nearly ten times that number, 600 students. It's a great story of public education.

Of course, our schools policy that we have delivered in the budget is committed to supporting schools all across Australia, over 9,000 schools.

This school Bondi Public, will receive $3.8 million in additional funding over the next decade. Every public school in Australia, every government school will, by 2027, be receiving 20 per cent from the Commonwealth, of the schooling resource standard. In the non-government sector, it will be 80 per cent of the schooling resource standard.

It will be a schools funding policy that for the first time in our history is national, consistent, transparent, needs-based, totally fair. Ensuring that the students and the schools with the most needs, get the most funding. That's what needs-based funding means.

That's what David Gonski recommended all those years ago and the Labor Party failed to deliver.

Now we see the hypocrisy, the absurdity, of Labor wanting to defend 27 secret, inconsistent deals, cooked up in a rush, piled one on the other, with students with the same needs getting different levels of funding from one system to another, from one state to another.

So we are delivering on that Gonski vision; fair, transparent, consistent, needs-based funding right across Australia and parents can see exactly what their school will receive from the Commonwealth.

They can see it on their smartphone. They can see what it's estimated to be over the decade to come.

That's our commitment.

It's wonderful to be here, to see these children, whose future for quality education, we are assuring through our fair, transparent, national needs-based funding model as David Gonski recommended.

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING:

Thanks PM and it is great to be here at Bondi Public, one of more than 9,000 Australian schools that is set to see real growth, real benefits, from the Turnbull Government's application of true, consistent, fair, needs-based Gonski school resourcing standards.

This school over the next ten years stands to gain around $3.8 million in additional resourcing under our reforms. Resources that can go into backing hardworking teachers to deliver better programs that support children to achieve more in the classroom.

Of course, this is a needs-based funding formula.

I had a look this morning at similarly-sized New South Wales schools in other parts of Sydney. James Erskine Public for example, in an area with some higher levels of social disadvantage and challenges and that school will receive some $4.4 million in additional funding, demonstrating the true needs-based principles that we're putting into practice.

Not different treatment based on a state border or based on a sectoral border between parts of the non-government sectors. This is about applying what David Gonski recommended six years ago.

It's taken six years of political argument with Labor having done a whole bunch of dodgy deals; secret arrangements, that didn't do what David Gonski recommended, but simply created a mess of incoherent, inconsistent, lacking-in-transparency arrangements, that were put in place.

We, with the legislation that I hope will pass the House of Representatives next week and hopefully will then proceed through to the Senate by the end of June, are giving Australia what was recommended.

That's why David Gonski stood in Sydney with the Prime Minister and I just a few weeks ago as we announced this policy.

It's why so many independent commentators – be it former Labor cabinet minister Craig Emerson, the Grattan Institute, the Mitchell Institute - these are the people saying this is the right for reform Australia. This is the way to fix the school funding wars of the past and to give us a model in the future that delivers for principals, for teachers, for parents, for schools and most importantly for children.

Fair, needs-based funding to help them get ahead and succeed in life.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Theresa May has had to rebuke Donald Trump over the US agency's leaking Manchester intel. What makes you so certain that the US intelligence community wont jeopardise sensitive intel on Australia?  

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we have a very strong and intimate relationship with the United States on intelligence matters, as indeed we do with the United Kingdom. The leak of information you referred to was disappointing and no-one was more disappointed than President Trump himself. As you know, he's said that he's going to find out how the leak occurred and ensure that anyone responsible is brought to account.

But it is a very strong and intimate relationship and one which is the bedrock, the foundation, of our national security.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, can I get your reaction to the Australian Electoral Commission initiating a formal investigation into One Nation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the Electoral Commission is doing its job. It's an independent agency and it should do that free of political interference or influence. Tom Rodgers is an outstanding Electoral Commissioner and he will do his duty under the Act.

JOURNALIST:

Is there a concern that these constant dramas around parties such as One Nation are damaging to all politicians and the public’s faith in their elected representatives?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s important that the electoral laws are complied with. It is the job of the Electoral Commission to ensure that they are complying. That is their job. But it is equally important that politicians and governments, do not seek to influence the Electoral Commission in doing its work, which must be done independently.

JOURNALIST:

The Commission has had to use its coercive powers to investigate One Nation, do you think Senator Hanson is being fully cooperative with that investigation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Again, I will leave this matter to be dealt with by the Electoral Commission. They have full powers to investigate these matters and they should do so free of interference or influence from any political party and indeed, any government.

JOURNALIST:

But do you believe she's being completely open and transparent?

PRIME MINISTER:

Again, I will leave that matter to be dealt with by the Electoral Commission. You can understand that it’s very important as part of maintaining the integrity of our political process that the rules which underpin our government, the rules in the Electoral Act that the Electoral Commission has to enforce, that investigations are conducted and enforcement is undertaken by the Electoral Commission, independently of the government.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, how much weight will the Government give to this week's Uluru talks, when determining the referendum question? How open is Government to a new, permanent Indigenous representative body?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, the first thing we have to do is await the conclusion of the meeting at Uluru. That will then come back to the full Referendum Council, which will then present its recommendations to me and to the Leader of the Opposition and through us to the Parliament. So we'll consider those recommendations in due course. Of course, we will consider them with the greatest of respect and gravity, as is appropriate to accord to them. These are weighty matters, momentous matters and they deserve very serious consideration.

JOURNALIST:

And a new representative body. How open is the Government to that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Again, we will consider what the Referendum Council presents. To do so respectfully, requires us to await their recommendation. Then we will respond in a respectful and responsible manner.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister the head of ASIO last night said that he doesn't see the terror threat going down any time soon. What’s your message to Australians who want to continue travelling and attending major events?

PRIME MINISTER:

Australians when they're travelling - if you mean travelling overseas - should always follow very carefully and have regard to, the travel advisory on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. It changes regularly, frequently in fact, as circumstances change. So it's important to stay up to date.

It's obviously also important when you're travelling overseas, I should add, to obey the laws of the country that you're in. We do provide consular services to Australians who get themselves into trouble, but the best thing is to avoid getting into trouble overseas and obeying the laws of the countries that you're visiting.

In terms of how we respond to terrorism, we respond to terrorism with defiance. We have the best intelligence, police, security services, in the world. Since September 2014, when the threat level was raised to ‘probable’, there have been 63 arrests for terrorism in Australia. There have been a number of terrorist incidents in Australia and a number of Australians have lost their lives but a dozen terrorist plots have been thwarted, including several which could have resulted in very large casualties.

You'll recall the plot that was uncovered and thwarted just before Christmas, which would have involved an explosive device being detonated and other attacks in and around Federation Square in central Melbourne.

Now, our agencies give us a very high level of security and protection, but there can be no guarantees. Night and day, relentlessly, dynamically, we are working to keep Australians safe. That’s my commitment, the obligation of the Government. We respond to every incident, whether it is at home or abroad, by updating and reviewing our procedures. We are constantly reviewing how we keep Australians safe.

I am talking as Prime Minister with the heads of my agencies, with the head of ASIO, with the head of AFP, counterterrorism coordinator, I talk with state counterparts, I was speaking to Premiers yesterday about these issues. We are tireless in our efforts to keep Australians safe and we must be even more agile than those who seek to do us harm.

JOURNALIST:

What about Careers Australia going into voluntary administration - what is the Government prepared to do to help students who have been left in the lurch?

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING:

Obviously our first consideration is for the students enrolled at Careers Australia, as well as for the staff of Careers Australia. Careers Australia is required to have tuition insurance protection, which they have through TAFE Directors Australia. That will provide protection for those students if Careers Australia stops trading. It’s important to draw the distinction at present that they've entered into voluntary administration. My Department has been in touch with the administrators as well as the tuition insurance services and TAFE directors, to make sure that all appropriate support is there for the students. But also to talk about how it is that the different parts of Careers Australia may continue to operate in future. It is possible that some of them could be picked up by other training providers of repute and continue to provide training services around the country.

But the background to this is also important to understand. We have refused Careers Australia a licence to provide VET student loans in the future. This comes because we closed down Labor's failed VET-fee-help scheme, which saw blowouts in the scale of student debt go from a few hundred million dollars to $3 billion just in the space of a few years. An enormous waste of money, of taxpayer money, and vulnerable people targeted for debt and completion rates below 20 per cent in so many instances, including in many of the instances with Careers Australia. Our new program only let's in the highest quality training providers to give training services and student loans in the future. That's as it should be. That's what we've guaranteed. But of course, we will do everything possible to work with Careers Australia, with TAFE Directors Australia to provide support for the students who need it.

Thank you.

[ENDS]

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