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 2697 The Quality School reforms will see the per student funding rate drop from 24% to 20% due to the Gonski Schooling Resource Standard for our government school students. This means that over the next decade the average per student funding for NT Government school students will grow by less than $1000. This is not keeping pace with the cost of delivering education. The NT is the only jurisdiction transitioning down to a lesser per student funding rate than in 2017 and yet we have the highest levels of disadvantage. There is nothing fair about Gonski 2.0 for the NT. This is all about consistency over fairness. The NT has a unique set of circumstances, and using a one -size-fits-all approach, which is the federal governments way of working, is to our detriment. Even with the hastily announced package of transition funding for the NT of $78.5m, the NT will still be $150m worse off than if the current rate of 24% of the SRS had continued. To make matters even more challenging the Quality Schools legislation requires states and territories to make up the gap in funding to government schools. For the NT this could mean finding another $1.2bn over the next decade to fund our schools. On top of that the Commonwealth may impose penalties if the Territory cannot keep up with the Commonwealths cost shifting, further disadvantaging NT students. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: A point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker! Standing Order 9: I draw your attention to the state of the House. Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ring the bells. A quorum is present. Ms LAWLER: It would useful if the CLP stayed to listen. It is all take, take, take from the Australian Government. Senator Scullion, our NT voice in the Australian Parliament and in the federal Cabinet, has said nothing. He has not stopped or spoken out against Minister Birmingham from using a broad-brush approach of treating all states and territories the same. It appears the federal Treasurer wants to use the same approach with the distribution of the GST, and Senator Scullion is still silent. We know this approach will not work. You cannot paint the Territory with the same brush as other states and territories. The NT has unique challenges. The Australian Early Development Census identified that 37% of Territory children are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains when they begin school. This includes children in urban locations as well as remote localities. A total of 73% of Northern Territory Government schools are located in remote and very remote communities and 46% of our students live in remote or very remote areas. This means we have many small schools and a dispersed population. This is what creates diseconomies of scale and drives the cost of education in the Northern Territory. Sixty-four of the 100 most disadvantaged schools nationally are in the Northern Territory. That is a fact. We have the highest levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness in Australia. The HFE is about getting equal levels of services, and the Commonwealth does not want to support that. We want equity in our system and parity in outcomes for our children and families. The Commonwealth will not even commit to having the same level of services for Territorians. All Territorianswhether they live in Parap, Papunya, Larapinta or Ludmillawant kids here to have the same opportunities as the kids at Kings College or Geelong Grammar. The cost of providing education in the NT is much higher compared to the rest of Australia. In fact, the cost of delivering all services in the NT is more expensive than elsewhere in Australia. The Commonwealth Grants Commission said: The Northern Territory has such a high level of delivering services that even with its significantly higher population share of Commonwealth payments and only slightly below average capacity to raise revenue, it still requires a very large share of the GST to have the capacity to deliver an average standard of service. Our children deserve more than just an adequate or average standard of service. Ask any Territory parent if their child deserves an average level of service for education. To me, that is not good enough, particularly when considering the levels of trauma, domestic and family violence, overcrowding, and alcohol and substance abuse many of our students experience.