Federal budget fails disabled students

The SSTUWA is calling on the State Government to ensure that students with disabilities are funded adequately after the Federal Government scrapped its promise to fund a disability loading from 2015.

As part of the commitment to the Gonski funding model, Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne promised more funding for students with disabilities. This was to be delivered by way of an agreed national definition of disability, which would have ensured consistency of application across Australia.

It was estimated that to properly fund education for students with disabilities in accordance with a national definition would cost more than $2 billion extra each year, of which WA would have received approximately $200 million.

“There are many barriers in the way of a decent education for students with disabilities, but one of the biggest is the lack of funding,” said SSTUWA President Pat Byrne.

“We are extremely disappointed that Tony Abbott has walked away from providing proper funding for students with disabilities. These children have the same right as other Australians to a quality education that allows them to reach their potential, and which treats them with dignity.”

“The government’s position now is that there will be no new funding provided; this effectively makes the new definition completely meaningless.”

Ms Byrne said Mr Abbott’s decision to cease the payment of National Partnership funding to schools for literacy and numeracy programs was another example of him walking away from schools and students whose needs were greatest.

“This budget will entrench disadvantage in our school system. For schools where Gonski funding could have made a huge difference, this is a bitter blow.”

“The Barnett government in its budget last week made no contingency plan to ensure that this money is replaced in schools, meaning that essential programs will be unable to run next year as schools suffer the consequences of state and federal budget cuts.”