Hart's case for more education investment

Senator Helen Polley, Member for Bass Ross Hart and deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek in Launceston.
Senator Helen Polley, Member for Bass Ross Hart and deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek in Launceston.

Flanked by deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek, Labor’s Member for Bass Ross Hart has called for Tasmania to receive education funding on a needs basis, to overcome its “woeful” results.

Students can leave school with as much as two years less education than students interstate, and Tasmania often sits at the lower end of the nation’s education performance table.

Acknowledging that his views were “not Labor Party policy’, Mr Hart said more needed to be done to combat the state’s education outcomes.

He said better higher education attainment would result in healthier outcomes in other areas.

“We’re not going to achieve that outcome with less investment in education,” he said. 

“There needs to be something done to change the structural issues that are underpinning the Tasmanian economy.

“Tasmania might be a case on a needs basis for additional investment in education.”

Mr Hart’s calls for a needs-based funding arrangement is similar to Labor’s original Gonski education proposal.

But Mr Hart said it would require a “holistic” approach between the state and federal government to stop Tasmania’s education “disadvantage”.

“It needs the sort of investment that Labor was talking about to at least improve the education completion rates and to get that education attainment,” he said. 

“The state government’s doing something with improving educational attainment, but it’s proposing to do that with less money.

“Clearly, the cut to education funding of $84 million in this state is a bad way to proceed to improve educational outcomes.”

Mrs Plibersek said Labor would reinstate its education funding if it won the next election

“You can see by our record that we are committed to needs-based funding and that Tasmania would have been better off under our proposals than Tasmania will be under the Liberals’ proposal,” she said. 

Mrs Plibersek also raised concerns about the government’s lowering of the HECS debt from $55,874 to $42,000.

Tasmania’s Liberal Senator Jonathon Duniam said the government’s new funding model was equitable.

He said the Liberals’ education plan would see Tasmanian schools better off than every other state and territory, aside from the Northern Territory.