Today the Greens Leader Adam Bandt, along with Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi and Lead Senate Candidate for Queensland Penny Allman-Payne, joined families and students at Brisbane’s Amethyst Street Park to launch the Greens’ plan for safe and fee-free public education.
It is the party’s first major ‘balance of power’ policy announcement for the year and kicks off the Greens 2022 campaign. In balance of power after the next election, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push the next government to tax the billionaires and fully fund essential services, including truly free and safe public schools.
Under the Greens’ plan, schools will urgently receive $224 million to install ventilation and HEPA filters, supporting kids to get back to safe classrooms, and protecting teachers and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to this, government schools will receive $49 billion over the next ten years to fully fund public schools and replace out-of-pocket fees charged to parents and guardians. Schools will receive $400 million a year for schools to build safe and modern learning environments.
The Good Schools Guide reported that parents can expect to spend between $47,290 and $60,936 for their children’s education in a Government school, and Government schools ask for voluntary contributions ranging from $50 to $1900. Parents in metropolitan areas can expect to pay approximately $4455 per year for their child’s secondary schooling in a government school.
The Greens’ Plan will:
- Invest $49 billion over the next 10 years to fully fund public schools and make them genuinely free for all students
- Provide $400m a year to build safe and modern teaching and learning facilities for students and teachers
- Make schools sustainable and accessible through the $5 billion Green Education Infrastructure Fund
- Provide $224.1m immediately for the installation of HEPA filters and CO2 monitors to improve air quality in schools
- Disabled people have a right to inclusive education. We will invest an initial $10 million over four years to co-design a National Inclusive Education Transition Plan
Quotes attributable to Greens Leader, Adam Bandt MP:
“Billionaires should pay more tax so parents can stop paying public school fees.
“As a parent who has just paid fees for two kids in public primary school, I know these fees aren’t really voluntary, they’re expected. Governments have put schools in the awful position of charging fees just to keep up basic services.
“It’s putting parents, teachers and even kids in a difficult situation and it’s because governments are systematically underfunding our public schools.
“While the Liberals and Labor are locked in a battle to give even more money to the richest private schools, we’re here to tell every public school student, their parents and their teachers that the Greens put public education first.
“In balance of power after this election, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push the next government to tax the billionaires and make public schools truly free.
“Governments haven’t done enough to make schools COVID-safe.”
Quotes attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens spokesperson for Education:
“A truly free, high-quality public school education available to every young person in Australia is completely achievable. This is what the Greens will deliver.
“School sets young people up for life, and it cannot be about who can afford to pay for it.
“Parents and teachers should not have to dip into their own pockets to give public school kids basic supplies for their education.
“Our school infrastructure needs federal government investment to deliver long-overdue capital works as student enrolments grow, and build and upgrade schools to be Covid-safe, well-ventilated with air purifiers, climate-conscious and accessible.
“Twenty-first century schools must have the modern facilities, high-quality classrooms and equipment to provide the best education possible.
“The increasing wealth of overfunded private schools makes a mockery of the government’s so-called commitment to fairer funding. Make no mistake, the current funding arrangements are cooked.
"With public money, public schools come first. The Greens are proud to be the party of public education. We will push to reverse the special deals that see our public system underfunded year on year, government after government. Every public school must be fully-funded as a matter of priority for the next government. Our students and teachers deserve nothing less.”
Quotes attributable to Penny Allman-Payne, Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland:
“There is no good reason for school fees, but there are a lot of bad outcomes.
“I’ve been concerned for some time about the stories that have come to the Queensland Teachers’ Union about the pressure families and teachers are put under by the expectation that these fees
“Underfunding public schools and forcing them to collect fees looks a lot like a stealth attempt to blur the line between public and private education.
“We need to reverse this trend immediately and send the clear message that public education is universal in every way, and one place to start is dropping these fees.