Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2016) . . Page.. 1483 ..
reduction in funding for the ACT. When comparing the special purpose payments that were embedded in the ACT budget with the Gonski funding as it was previously announced a few years ago, it showed that Gonski actually led to a reduction in money coming from the federal government into the ACT.
Yes, I actually do support the calls for as much education funding as we can get into the ACT. The principles of Gonski I think are good ones. I think they are good ones globally across Australia. But let us be very mindful that what we do not want is what happened last time, and that was a reduction in funding. Under the agreement signed by Ms Katy Gallagher, the then Chief Minister, and Ms Julia Gillard, the then Prime Minister, the net result in the budget was a $30 million reduction.
I am not saying that in any sense I do not support increased funding or that we do not understand the principles of Gonski, which is needs based, but let us just be aware of what the implications would be for the ACT because I do not want the rhetoric to get in the way of an increase in funding for our schools here in the ACT. I do not support any reduction in funding for the ACT school system as occurred previously under ACT Labor when ACT Labor, through the deal that they signed with Ms Gillard, actually cut $30 million in funding from ACT schools.
Whether we support the amendment or not is a little academic. We will not be supporting the motion given it has not been amended. I do remind members that when we do actually throw around labels like “Gonski” or “NDIS” and so on—and I do welcome the extra money that is coming in the federal budget for NDIS—we do need to look at the detail. We want to make sure that we get additional funding where the funding is needed. But I do not support that if, as happened the last time, it would result in a reduction in funding to the ACT.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (12.14): I thank Ms Burch for bringing forward the extra points in this amendment. It is important for the motion to be updated to reflect the fact that last night’s commonwealth budget imposed further efficiency dividends on the Australian public service and that the cumulative effect in the past of those efficiency dividends has been that a lot of the immediate and obvious savings that could be achieved within agencies have been achieved some time ago—many budgets ago—and that the impact of efficiency dividends now, particularly on the smaller national institutions, can only translate into the loss of jobs. The ACT Treasury has estimated that over the next three years to be around 1,400, based upon previous experience and an understanding of what little discretionary spending is left available for those agencies.
It is also important to take the opportunity today for this place to express a view on that. We heard from the shadow treasurer earlier that he is as pure as the driven snow when it comes to expressing a view on these things, so we look forward to his vote in this place shortly.
Ms Burch’s amendment also calls on the ACT government to continue to support the territory economy in light of the impact of the federal budget last night. We can and will take up that challenge in our budget next month.