Catholic education boss cautions reform, not rhetoric

Catholic Education Victoria Executive Director, Mr Stephen Elder, believes there has never been a more critical time for Canberra to focus on the long-term future education of the nation, not short-term political point scoring.

Having last week warmly recognised Labor’s decision to honour school funding arrangements previously negotiated until the end of 2019, Mr Elder has also welcomed suggestions the Coalition may reverse a plan to link funding increases to inflation.

‘A heated education funding exchange shortly after the resumption of Federal Parliament yesterday included a statement from Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, that “how you use money is far more important than how much you promise”,’ Mr Elder explained.

‘I have said that on numerous occasions and it is wonderful to know both sides of the House understand that education is the key to our prosperity as a nation and that without full and proper funding and support the impact on the lives of future generations will be enormous.

‘We look forward to being able to work with Mr Shorten as Labor outlines further details of its proposal, just as we applaud Mr Turnbull for listening to our concerns and considering the plight of parents who would struggle to meet rising school costs.

‘The contraction of our nation’s economy means that the Government will have to make hard decisions across a variety of policy areas, including education. But I would urge some words of caution: short-term economic and political gain should not come at the expense of long-term prosperity and productivity,’ Mr Elder said.

Providing a high quality yet affordable education for the disadvantaged and marginalised is a major part of Catholic education’s mission across the country, so Mr Elder is a strong supporter of needs-based funding.

‘As the Productivity Commission found in 2012, our future depends on the development of our “human capital” and that fundamental to this is a well-performing schooling system,’ Mr Elder said.

‘The same report found that we should be investing in more effective teachers, as opposed to simply more teachers, which has been the practice of some schooling systems.

‘Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are aware of the transformative power of education.’

For further information contact Catholic Education Melbourne, Media, on (03) 9267 0228. 


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