MR: quality of education to fall unless population also stabilised

25 February 2014

Media Releases 2014

Should Treasurer Joe Hockey stop growth in education spending then he must also stop growth in population if standards are not to fall, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

Treasurer Joe Hockey unveiled the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) in Canberra yesterday, warning that social programs, including education, health and welfare, would not see any growth in funding.

SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says it would be understandable in light of overall budget cuts were population not growing at 1.8 per cent, or over 400,000 a year.

“For standards just to be maintained, education funding also needs to grow by 1.8 per cent, that is, by 9.3 per cent over the four years,” says Ms Goldie.

“To argue for stabilisation of education funding, therefore, is to argue for an approximate 10 per cent decline in quality. According to PISA rankings released by the OECD, Australia is falling behind Asian nations.

“This is hardly the time to pull the rug from under school spending. If, however, Minister Hockey wants to stave off further decline, he has to match growth in education spending and population growth.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the year ending June 2013, Australia grew by 407,000. Net overseas migration was 244,400 people (60 per cent) and natural increase 162,700 (40 per cent).

Ms Goldie says Mr Hockey has an extraordinarily short memory or otherwise is thumbing his nose at the advice of International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde who said only last week in Australia that governments should invest in health and education as a priority.

“He’s not only rejecting the advice, but actively going against it in light of continued high population growth in this country.”

Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453

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