Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP, has slammed the Federal Liberal National Government for spending $152 million on a review when that money could have gone directly towards funding disadvantaged and small regional schools.
"You've got to be joking. I cannot believe that this Liberal National Government's priority is another Review and not allocating this funding directly to schools most in need,” said Ms Chesters.
“The National and Liberal party are outrageous if they think that Central Victorians will not forget that it was their Government who cut millions in Federal Government funding from small and disadvantaged schools.
“The $152 million spent on this independent review should have gone directly to funding our small regional schools. The Nationals promised the review in the lead-up to the last election, demonstrating how out of touch they are with regional communities.
“Tax payers money has been wasted in this review. It could and should have gone directly to restoring funding cuts by their own Government. The National and Liberal version of Gonski cut millions of dollars in funding from small and disadvantaged schools in favour of wealthy metro private schools.
In fact, all Bendigo electorate public schools are worse off under this Liberal National Government funding model.
“Yesterday, I visited Eaglehawk Primary School and Bendigo NETschool. Two local examples of why the Liberal National Government must urgently restore the funding they cut from these schools.
“Eaglehawk Primary spoke to me about their disappointment at being unable to access funding for English language support for two new indigenous students. How are these students expected to learn and thrive without English language?
“NETschool helps students stay engaged with education and they have a waitlist of 38 students who want to improve their lives. This wreckless spending by the National party is a slap in the face to every student in Bendigo who is begging for more support.
“Labor’s needs-based funding plan, the original Gonski, would have invested significantly in these schools - to give the kids a chance to break intergenerational poverty.
“Not all communities, families and therefore, schools are equal. There are significant pockets of disadvantage across Bendigo where parents and carers are struggling to buy uniforms and provide lunches for their children to attend school. Their ability to pay any form of school fee is non-existent.
“I am really disappointed in the Senator and this Government for wasting more time and resources on another review into needs-based funding. The time for talking about the need to fund small regional and disadvantaged is over."