The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

23 May 2013

Doorstop interview

Joint interview with
the Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for School Education
Minister for Early Childhood and Youth

Sydney

SUBJECTS: Labor's National School Improvement Plan; Mr Abbott's Plan to rip funding out of schools; Ford

GARRETT:

The investment this Government has made in education, and incidentally on public education as well. And I know the contribution that the teachers at this school are making to the kids who are learning here is really outstanding. You know over the last five and half years we have seen an extraordinary level of investment and policy reform in education. It is reflected in this school in the investments in their new hall and facilities. Including right around this electorate of Kingsford Smith, where we have got the $75 million dollars' worth of investments and around 120 projects. But it is not only been in the facilities and in the infrastructure, it has been in driving school improvement. That is what national testing is all about with the NAPLAN.

That is what our commitment in the National Plan for School Improvement is all about with making sure that we have higher teacher standards, things like a reading blitz in the early years of primary school. And, concentrated effort to help kids in schools achieve to the best of their capacity. So it is a huge pleasure to be here today, delighted Wayne that we can have you in this school. It is a great school and thank you for Paul Woods the principal for hosting us and looking forward to spending some time with the children here as well. And on that note I might just hand over to the Treasurer.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much Peter. It is great to be here with you at this great public school. The Budget has been all about making the smart investments for the future and of course funding those smart investments in a sustainable way. And we will see the benefit at schools like this right across New South Wales, because New South Wales has actually signed up. And of course this will make a very big difference here in New South Wales and in schools here like Coogee Public School. An additional $1.6 million dollars over six years. That is additional resources into these schools because we know the smartest investments we can make for the future are in the education of our young people.

And that went to the core of our Budget which was all about supporting jobs and growth, a responsible path back to surplus, while making the very smart investments that will set our country up for the future. So, Peter it is great to be here. I look forward to meeting with the teachers and the students later on. Over to you.

JOURNALIST:

In relation to the Gonski education funding deal, the New South Wales education Minister said to us yesterday that New South Wales has signed an agreement not with the Labor Party but with the government what does that mean about what happens after the September election?

TREASURER:

Well they have certainly signed it with the national government and that is a very good thing. It is good to see that leadership happening in New South Wales. It would be great to see it happening in other states and it would certainly be great to see it happen in my home state of Queensland, which needs this investment badly. But, the truth is that if Mr Abbott were in power he has said he will rip these monies out. So there is a pretty clear choice for people as we go through to September 14. Substantial investment in the future of our country, lifting our kids up in terms of their educational capacities. Making sure no child is being left behind. And, of course the Liberals who are going to take the axe to education spending. Therefore not only hit the prospects of young people but also have impact on our economy over long period of time. A very clear choice - investment under Labor, or cut to the bone under Mr Abbott.

JOURNALIST:

What physical difference would we see here at Coogee Public if that was the case?

TREASURER:

Well I will throw to Peter in a minute. But essentially through this extra investment it means more teachers. More specialist resources in schools whether it is reading or writing. It depends on the need in the school. And of course there are a whole host of loadings that come to different schools in different ways depending on the challenges they face. So what it really gives is schools much more flexibility, additional resources to deal with their direct needs in their communities. And of course they differ from community to community. But it really gives schools the option. For example if they wanted to invest more through a literacy coach for example, they could do that. And there are many other examples that I have seen around the country on what can be done. But Peter may just want to add to that.

GARRETT:

Look thanks Wayne. Look one of the things I think is absolutely crucial in absolutely understanding this National Plan for School Improvement is that it will provide schools with the certainty over increase funding over time. That has never been the case before. When we come to funding education. A school like this you would see greater opportunity for the principal to drive reform in the school. Greater opportunities for the principal to work closely with the parents and citizens community. Making sure that there is more information available for the community by way of transparent information on the MySchool website. And I do expect to see schools share the successful strategies that I have seen deployed in the national partnerships up till now.

And the fact is that this is a school from a relatively well-off area, but every school can expect to see that certainty of increased investment in the framework of the national plan which empowers teachers and principals to provide the best effort for their students as they possibly can. And, finally something like the National States Schools framework. This is absolutely crucial. Any parents that have a legitimate concern about things like cyber bullying. Bullying in the classroom, I am certainly not saying it happens here, but the fact is that we need to have this national states framework imbedded in every school in Australia. And under the National Plan for School Improvement that is something that would happen.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan there are reports this morning that Ford are cutting its production in Australia, is this another sign that the Australian car industry is dyeing?

TREASURER:

Well I think we will have to wait to see the detail form Ford which will be made later in the day. The government will make a detailed response to that statement. But I do want to make the point that the government will do everything within our power to support workers and local communities that may be affected by a decision taken by Ford.

JOURNALIST:

If the reports are true though, and 2, 000 jobs around about are going in Geelong what kind of support would there be for the rest of the community?

TREASURER:

Well as I said before we will have to see the statement from Ford. I do make the point that we would provide every support possible to local communities and local workers affected. But we have just got to wait and see.

JOURNALIST:

So are you concerned about the future of manufacturing in Australia?

TREASURER:

Well I think as we have discussed on many occasions, we have support jobs and growth in Australia. And the Australian economy is going through an important transition, and our economy is affected dramatically by a persistently high Australian dollar, which provides challenges for some industrial sectors. And as I have said repeatedly our priority is to support jobs and growth now as we go through that transition. That's why we have a responsible path back to surplus in this Budget so we can support jobs and growth now. The transitions is going on in our economy are principally two. There is a transition which is coming from investment in resources to the export of those resources and that is less labour intensive. There is also a transition, a hand over if you like, from the mining side of growth to non-mining sources of growth. And that has been driven by lower interest rates. And in the middle of that what we have is a persistently high Australian dollar, which is providing challenging circumstances for some industries and some sectors. And we have talked a lot about that. It is not just the auto-industry that is challenged by that. We have seen in recent data that it has eroded profitability across a significant section of business and we talked a lot about the impact of that in the Budget. And that's why in the Budget we gave our number one priority to supporting jobs and growth now, whilst charting a responsible path back to surplus. So there are a challenge out there, that is true, but we will have to wait and see the nature of the decision that has been taken by Ford and that will be detailed later in the day.

JOURNALIST:

I understand that you are answering questions about this without much information, but was the government not given any information from Ford in advance?

TREASURER:

Well these are matters that Ford is going to make a statement about. When they make their statement it is appropriate that government responds in detail. And we will do that.

JOURNALIST:

Will it say anything about the, will Ford's announcement we understand is that they are not making cars in Australia from 2016, what does that say about the money that taxpayers have been putting in?

TREASURER:

Well the first thing you have to do is see the detailed statement from Ford. When we have that the government will respond. Thank you.