Media Release

10 October 2018

Guy-Smith: Better schools, greater choice and more opportunity

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Better schools, greater choice and more opportunity

The Liberal Nationals support a strong public and private education system because we believe in giving parent’s choice and children the best opportunities.

With Melbourne’s current population squeeze limiting parental choices it’s never been more important to support all three sectors of the school system.

Giving parents and children choice in education is a core value of the Liberal Nationals.

A critically important part of that choice is for parents to have the option of low-fee, independent and Catholic schools.

That’s why an elected Liberal Nationals Government will support a partnership with Catholic and independent schools with a $400 million fund to upgrade and build new schools across Victoria. The fund will also support the removal of dangerous asbestos and cladding in Catholic and independent schools.

Melbourne’s population squeeze is putting enormous stress on all of our services including our public and private schools.

With Melbourne’s population now at 5 million and growing by an average of 2,700 a week, it’s never been more important to have a strong private and public education system, particularly in suburbs where there is huge growth.

That means supporting private and public education with strategic funding that makes sure parents have a range of education options and choice so their children get the best possible opportunities.

Victoria has the highest rate of students attending non-government schools of any state in Australia.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will do even more for the non-government sector by transferring planning responsibility for applications relating to independent and Catholic schools from local government to the Minister for Planning.

In other words, local governments will move from being the responsible authority to a referral authority.

This small but significant reform will streamline planning applications for non-government schools allowing them to be more responsive to local population growth.

The policy also sends a clear message to non-government schools that the Coalition supports their work and wants to ably assist them in growing their presence to meet demand.

Only the Liberal Nationals have a comprehensive plan to ease the population squeeze.