Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (13:36): Last week I had the pleasure of joining the terrific kids of class 2S at Woodridge North State School during their annual book fair. I read with Miss Sonboli's class The Last King of Angkor Wat, by Australian author Graeme Base, and fielded some really terrific questions. The school was using the book fair to celebrate reading and to raise much-needed funds for their school. This side of the House supports our schools while that side cuts their funding. Principal Muriel Collins told me afterwards:
We need the certainty of ongoing needs-based funding in low SES, culturally-diverse schools like mine.
I could not agree more with her sentiments. Among the many short-sighted cuts of the Abbott government, their cuts to schools have got to be among the most unfair and unwise. In my community, it means $230 million will be taken out of local schools in the next decade. Across Queensland, it will be $6.3 billion, and across Australia it will be $30 billion. Speaking to principals, they tell me these cuts will mean: less individual support; fewer subject choices; less support for students with disability; literacy and numeracy programs will be cut; music, sport and learning support will all be cut. This year's budget has done nothing to reverse the biggest cuts to schools in Australian history. This side of parliament knows that education is an investment in our future. On behalf of schools like Woodridge North in my electorate, we will continue to fight these unfair cuts to education.