Question Time: Tertiary Education

Ms PAYNE (Canberra) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Education. What is the Albanese Labor government doing to support workers and students in the education system?

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (14:56): On 1 July every Australian taxpayer will get a tax cut. That includes childcare workers. A childcare worker on $40,000 a year will get a tax cut of more than $600. It includes teachers. A schoolteacher on, say, $90,000 a year will get a tax cut of more than $1,900. It also includes nurses. A nurse on $75,000 a year will get a tax cut of more than $1,500. A lot of these jobs require a university degree.

On the weekend I released the Universities Accord final report. As I told the House yesterday, we’ll release the first stage of our response to the report in the next few months. One of the things that the report recommends is financial support for teaching and nursing students when they’re doing their prac. It makes the point that if you’re a nursing student you’re spending 800 hours working in a hospital where you’re not paid. If you’re a teaching student, you’re spending about 600 hours in a classroom where you’re not paid.

To do these pracs you’re often having to move or travel long distances and sometimes you may have to give up your part-time job. A lot of us in this place know how important those part-time jobs are when you’re at university. Working at Sizzler helped get me through university. The Prime Minister worked at Pancakes on the Rocks when he was at university—am I right?

Mr Albanese: Indeed.

Mr CLARE: The minister for local government worked at Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant and the member for Hinkler worked as a paid lifeguard when he was doing his engineering degree at university. I see him nodding. The minister for aged care served tea and coffee with her mum in an aged-care centre when she was studying at university, the minister for skills—my bench buddy over their—worked in a petrol station and on an assembly line to get himself through university and the member for Paterson pulled beers at the Brewery in Newcastle. A lot of us, all across the chamber, have stories like that. You worked in a butcher shop, didn’t you?

Right now, there are millions of hardworking Australians doing these jobs full-time—cooks, waiters, bartenders, assembly-line workers, aged-care workers. Every one of them who pays tax will get a tax cut on 1 July. All Australian taxpayers will get a tax cut because we want Australians to earn more and keep more of what they earn.