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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Canberra Liberals detail election plan for ACT education

The Canberra Liberals have stated their commitment to education in the ACT, detailing an election plan to reduce costs and increase education outcomes in the Territory.

In Thursday’s announcement, the Canberra Liberals’ promises included $200 Active and Creative Kids vouchers for extracurricular activities and “fairer funding for ACT schools”, including a $16.8 million funding commitment to Catholic schools over five years.

Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe said the party was committed to reducing cost pressures on Canberra families for education.

“We’re committed to delivering real and practical solutions that will improve education outcomes and reduce cost pressures on parents and teachers,” Mr Coe said.   

“We will ensure that Canberra has the best education outcomes in Australia while reducing cost of living pressures on families.

“It’s vital that we give every young Canberran the best possible start in life, regardless of the classroom they sit in and a Canberra Liberals Government will do just that.” 

The plan also outlined a renewed focus on school curriculum, 50 new full-time teacher librarian positions for ACT public schools and new and expanded schools in Molonglo and Gungahlin.  

The party reiterated its pledge to undertake an audit of all ACT Government school infrastructure and a $15 million promise for upgrades, after lead contamination found in various Canberra schools.

ACT Catholic schools welcomed the announcement from the Canberra Liberals on Thursday, with Catholic Education Director Ross Fox saying it was something the organisation had been rallying for.

“Our approach has been simple, to advocate for fair funding for students in Catholic schools. 25% of ACT Government school costs is a fair level and will put downward pressure on fees,” he said.  

“The Canberra Liberals’ proposal adopts this approach and will help keep values-based schools, such as Catholic schools, affordable for ACT families.

“We know that the ACT Government funds public schools well, and that is important, but Canberra families also want well-funded and affordable Catholic schools too.”

However, ACT Labor education spokesperson Yvette Berry said the Labor Government had already shown its commitment to education, with three new schools across Throsby, Kenny and Denman Prospect.

“Their announcement of new and expanded schools is not a Canberra Liberals election policy, every one of these new and expanded schools has already been funded by the ACT Labor Government,” Ms Berry said.

“They are so out of touch that they don’t realise that they have even re-announced one of our new schools twice: Labor’s new high school in Kenny is the high school in East Gungahlin.

“In the coming weeks Labor will announce an actual plan to continue providing some of the best public-school infrastructure in Australia.”

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