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Big questions remain over Labor’s callous attack on non-government schools

Shadow Minister for Education, Sarah Henderson, says big questions remain over the Albanese Government’s lack of support for non-government schools in the wake of a proposal to scrap tax deductible donations to school building funds.

Under intense questioning in Senate Estimates, Labor’s Assistant Education Minister, Anthony Chisholm, said a Productivity Commission recommendation to abolish deductible gift recipient (DGR) status for schools was “…not something we’re considering.”

The reform proposal, which would result in independent and religious schools losing more than $3 billion a year, would drive up school fees and put the viability of low fee schools at risk.

“Schools and parents across the country should not be comforted by Labor’s weasel words,” Senator Henderson said.

“The Coalition has called on the Albanese Government to unequivocally rule out this callous proposal and we continue to demand the funding certainty that schools deserve.

“The scrapping of tax deductions for schools would not only be catastrophic for the non-government sector, but would damage the many public schools which operate school building funds to support the construction and maintenance of school infrastructure.

“Education Minister Jason Clare must immediately announce this proposal will never see the light of day, under any circumstances.

“Of course, after all of Labor’s lies and broken promises, Australians have every right not to believe a word this government says.

In its examination of the education portfolio in Senate Estimates, the Coalition raised numerous integrity concerns including in relation to:

  • • The “restaurant rorts” scandal which forced Jason Clare’s department to ban departmental meetings in lavish venues;
  • • A $37,000 ‘double dipping’ payment to the vice-chancellor of Western Sydney University in addition to his $1 million annual salary;
  • • The failure to disclose documents over the Coalition’s integrity concerns about a charity established to deliver indigenous schools;
  • • The Albanese Government’s failure to deliver “full and fair” funding for public schools which has erupted into a funding shambles; and
  • • Jason Clare’s review of the ATO HECS payment system which has disappeared into thin air.


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