Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2696 commitments regarding the funding for education into the future when we see a Labor government federally elected, which I do not think is too far away. I support the motion raised by the Treasurer because I strongly believe in s tanding up for Territorians to ensure we get a fair deal. We have some of the most disadvantaged Australians and reducing funding would be an injustice to those who need the most help. We should be ensuring that all Australians are able to access the same levels of services regardless of where they live. Horizontal fiscal equalisation is about recognising that different jurisdictions have different capabilities and capacities to generate revenue to pay for services and programs. However, the report on the GST revenue sharing relativities says one of the reasons the NT will receive less GST is because data shows that the delivery of education in remote schools is less expensive now than it was previously. This is not the case. The reason remote education is reported as being less expensive in the NT is because the CLP cut funding to education over the last four years. The cost of delivery of education did not decrease I can assure you thatbut the CLP cut education funding so severely that services were not able to be delivered. There was $135m cut from Territory education at a time when students should have seen record spending from the federal governments Gonski funding. The CLP cheated students out of their share of an additional $272m in Commonwealth funding over the last four years. Previous Minister Chandler has given our teachers and our Territory students a double kick. Now we are seeing cuts to our GST, and Senator Scullion is not interested in working with us to fix this. Neither is the federal Minister for Education, Senator Birmingham. Let us not forget that as a direct consequence of the CLP ripping $135m out of the education system, 508 people lost their jobs in education373 in schools and 135 in the corporate area. Having 508 people lose their jobs impacts on the population of the Territory. People pack up and move if they cannot get a job in the Territory. If they lose their jobs, they leavetheir husbands, their wives, their families, their kids. They leave the Territory and then we see our population decrease, which is another impact on the GST. That is 508 people who owned or rented homes, who were raising families and contributing to the economic and social prosperity of the NT. They were turfed out of their jobs as teachers, support workers, student support specialists, admin assistants all the jobs in schools and corporate areas of education. Many of these people left the Territory and we cannot underestimate the negative impact this has had. I have said many times in this House that teachers and people who work in schools are good corporate citizens; they are the good people in society. They are the people who coach sporting teams and get involved in community activitiesand so from remotes and urban areas, 508 people in that education area. As well as cutting funding to schools, the CLP increased electricity, water and sewerage costs by 20, 30 and 15 percent respectively from January 2013, and I do not think there are too many Territorians who can forget those price hikes. Not only did this negatively affect families by increasing the cost of living and further disadvantage struggling families, the increase also impacted on schools with the redirection of funds to cover the cost of utilities rather than education and learning support. If you increase the price of power, water and sewerage, the cost to schools is horrendous. School budgets have to pay for the increases, which means a reduction in money going to classrooms. Now is a chance for the CLP to show it cares about education and Territorians by joining with government on this motion. The Commonwealth think of the NT as a couple of seats in parliament. They are not interested in Territorians and making sure they have access to the same services as other states and territories. Despite the increase expected in the overall national pool for GST in 201718, the NT is the only jurisdiction to receive less GST in 201718 than in 201617. This disregard for Territorians is shameful. It is not just in the GST debate that this is playing out; it is also in other federal government funding arrangements. Now we have Gonski 2.0, which the Australian Government claims is a fairer, needs-based funding model for schools. Somehow in the Australian Governments mind fairer funding means the NT will be disadvantaged. The NT is the only jurisdiction in which funding for government schools, as a proportion of the Gonski Schooling Resource Standard, will transition down.

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