Public funding of private schools must end

April 22, 2013

The federal government’s plan to cut $2.3 billion from university funding is wrong. The government should end public funding to private schools and make mining companies and banks pay instead.

It makes no sense for Julia Gillard’s government to fund primary and secondary education by cutting $2.3 billion from the budget of university education.

Described as a “razor-gang”, the cuts to universities will turn a student scholarship scheme into a loans scheme, disadvantaging thousands of students.

Schools and universities desperately need more funding, which has been steadily cut over the past two decades. There is no need to make the two sectors compete for a dwindling pool of resources; there are alternative ways to raise the money.

First, the government should end all public funding to private schools. Over the next four years they will be given $85 billion, and Gillard plans to increase private school funding by $2.4 billion.

Even former WA Labor premier Carmen Lawrence, a member of the Gonski review panel, says private schools are getting too much in the Gillard government's plan.

Second, the government should also seriously tax the mining companies. Implementing the original resource super profits tax could raise $20 billion a year.

Last and most importantly, the government should nationalise the mining, banking and energy sectors. Doing this would allow funding for free, quality education at all levels and for addressing other urgent social and environmental needs.

[Peter Boyle is the national co-convenor of Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney.]

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