Question Time: Cost of living – Education

Dr REID (Robertson) (15:11): My question is to the Minister for Education. What is the Albanese Labor government doing to deliver cost-of-living relief in the Education portfolio, and how does this compare to other approaches?

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (15:11): I thank my friend the sensational member for Robertson for his question. There are more than 300,000 teachers right across the country, and a teacher on, say, 80 grand a year will get a tax cut of $1,679 next week. That’s double what they would have got under the Liberals. That’s how you deliver real cost-of-living relief, not by jacking up power prices with expensive nuclear reactors. And that’s just one example of the difference a Labor government makes. Here are a few more.

Under the Liberals, childcare out-of-pocket costs went through the roof; under us, they’ve gone down. They ripped billions of dollars out of public schools; we are putting billions of dollars back in. Under them, attendance at school went down; under us, it’s coming back up. Under them, the number of people studying teaching at university went down; under us, it’s coming back up. Under them, TAFE was neglected and sidelined; under us, 350,000 Australians have now got access to those important fee-free TAFE courses. And under them—

Ms Bell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moncrief is now warned.

Mr CLARE: they tried to make people pay for those fee-free university-ready courses—those courses that are a bridge between school and university. I’ve told members before about the impact that these courses make and told stories of Australians who’ve done them.

Mr Fletcher: Tell us another one!

Mr CLARE: Here’s another one. I’ll give you another one, Member for Bradfield. Let me give you the example of Joanne McCarthy. She might be someone known to you. I think she’s known to everyone in the press gallery. She’s the Gold Walkley winning journalist who exposed institutionalised child abuse in the Hunter region. Her work sparked a royal commission. And, before she was a journalist, she did one of these fee-free university-ready courses at Newcastle university. It’s what set it all up.

Now, Mr Speaker, guess who tried to impose a $3,000 fee on everybody doing those free courses? The Liberal Party. We’re keeping them free and we’re expanding the number of Australians who get a chance to do them. In fact, we want to double the number of Australians doing them over the next 15 years. That’s the difference between the Liberals and Labor. They think education is a cost. We see it as an investment, and we understand that teachers are at the core of it—that they are the ones that make all of this possible. That’s why, as I said a minute ago, a teacher on 80 grand a year will get a tax cut of $1,679. (Time expired)