The ACT has been cutting real expenditure on education, a situation that must end immediately, according to Jeremy Hanson, Canberra Liberals’ Shadow Minister for Education.
“The latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services shows the ACT Government has cut real expenditure per FTE student in public schools by 3.3 per cent during the period 2010-11 to 2019-20. Federal Government funding to ACT public schools has increased by 42% in the same period,” said Mr Hanson.
“Now, we are seeing the results of this underfunding right across the system, from chronic teacher shortages to lack of resources to failing infrastructure,” he said.
“In an Assembly hearing last week, we heard teacher shortages were causing many classes to be combined with up to 60 students in a class, and teachers now fearing for their safety.
“It has become so bad that one ACT school has been issued with a prohibition notice by WorkSafe ACT after inspectors found teachers and administration staff were being abused, sworn at, and subjected to violent behaviour from students on a daily basis.
“Some schools do not have a school library or staff room because the space has been converted to classrooms, while others were teaching in corridors. Teachers are saying there are not enough IT devices for all staff.
“The worst part is, these are long standing, systemic issues due to ACT government decisions, starting with Andrew Barr closing 23 schools.
“That’s why I am calling on the Labor Greens government stop the funding cuts to ACT public schools, deliver the 400 new teachers promised in the 2020 ACT election, and stop over-crowding our schools,” concluded Mr Hanson.