Tonight I attended the Australian Primary Principals Association launch of the Charter on Primary Schooling, which is a great lead-in to what I to relay here in the Senate about my visit to Youngtown Primary School last week with Amanda Rishworth, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Education, and our fabulous Bass candidate for the Labor Party, Ross Hart.
It was inspirational to again visit that school. We had the opportunity to see a new video that the school has put together that outlines what inspires them—what the inspiration for their school is all about. If you are a parent wanting to enrol your child as a student you can come along or go online and view this video. It was excellent, and I want to put on record my thanks to Mario Bergamin, the school's acting principal.
Youngtown Primary School has a vision that is simple: inspired today, prepared for tomorrow. The core values of the school consist of learning, relationships, integrity, compassion, creativity and innovation. They have some wonderful programs to assist their students. One of those we learnt about was a catch-up literacy program, which assists children to enhance their literacy and reading standards and is a parent-inclusive program. They have invited parents to go along to do a course so they can participate and help other students in the school.
It is a wonderful program, but so many of these programs are going to be at risk if this Government fails to deliver on the Gonski funding for years 5 and 6. That was one of the conversations we had upstairs tonight as well, with the principals I met from the Tasmanian schools, from the south of the state. But the issues are still the same. They need to ensure that primary school education is the world's best. That is what our kids deserve. The gateway to their future learning depends on proper grounding and the best opportunity in primary school.
Getting back to Youngtown Primary School - they were way ahead of the kitchen garden program that has been on board now for some years around the country. Their community garden and outdoor learning spaces program is really a unique program. It is a wonderful opportunity for all students to learn and to participate, and it has given me a lot of pleasure, over a long period of time now, to be a sponsor of that garden and to see the young students planting, nurturing and growing the plants and then being able to consume the vegetables and fruits they grow. It is very rewarding. It is a level playing field. And these are some of the activities, along with activities like music, sport, drama, and dancing, that are at risk, let alone the other programs for which a lot of schools are now having to consider whether they will be able to continue to afford.
These cuts and the fact that the Government has failed to give a commitment that it will deliver on the Gonski funding comes on top of the Liberal State Government in Tasmania making cuts to education. That has, in turn, taken a lot of teachers out of the classrooms in the state school education system. The Liberal Government should be condemned for that.
We know that in the north-east of Tasmania alone $154 million will mean that those kids are going to be worse off over the next 10 years. That is outrageous, at a time when we should be investing more in education. What do we get from this government?
They make promises before the election, but we know what they have delivered whilst they have been in Government for the last two years now. They have cut health; they have cut education; they have not delivered on Gonski. What do they want to do now? They want to increase the GST. They want to put the GST on fresh food—fresh vegetables and fruit. So every time mum or dad makes a school lunch for their kids going off to school, not only are they going to have to pay GST on the education and health but also they are going to have to pay it every time they pack that school lunch—for every apple, orange or banana that is put into that lunch box.
This is outrageous. This is the 21st century vision of this Prime Minister. All I can say is that you might have changed the captain, but the team and your practice and skills are all the same. It is directed at those people in this country who can least afford it. You are an unfair government. The Australian community will reject you, because they know that you have not got their best interests at heart.
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