5 June 2014

Senate Estimates last night revealed that despite starting work on its $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals 'before Easter', the Government still has not undertaken any assessment of the impact on Australian classrooms.

Of the $80 billion in cuts to our schools and hospitals announced by Tony Abbott, $30 billion will come from schools.

  Senator Wong: "Can you confirm in terms of that figure broadly, you're looking at around 30 for schools and 50 for hospitals?"

  Deputy Secretary, Treasury: "So it's a little bit under 30 for schools and a bit over 50 for hospitals." - Senate Estimates, 4 June 2014.

Even though these are the biggest cuts to schools in Australia's history, the Government has not undertaken any assessment of the impact on schools and students.

  Senator Collins: "But the Department itself hasn't looked at that potential impact?"

  Secretary, Education Department: "No, not really."  - Senate Estimates, 4 June 2014

"The Education Department could not say how many schools would close, how many teachers would be sacked or give any indication of the impact on students," Shadow Minister for Education Kate Ellis said.

"It's absolutely frightening that the Government could make the largest ever cuts to our schools without any idea of the consequences."

"Before the election, Tony Abbott promised there would be no cuts to education, but now it's clear he simply doesn't care what damage his cuts will do."

These arbitrary cuts to schools, without consultation or analysis, area in sharp contrast to the Gonski reforms, which were implemented by Labor after the biggest review of our school funding in 40 years.