On Monday 6 February 2023, I made a speech in Federal Parliament about our back-to-school support program and the underfunding of schools in Ryan. You can watch the speech here or read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: My office recently ran a back-to-school grants program for parents in need of help to get supplies for their kids. We put the call out and within four hours we had more applications than we could fund, with parents needing an extra $100 or $200 to pay for uniforms, for textbooks or towards technology costs, or simply to help cover the fee to go to a state school. The appreciation from those parents for the small amount of help we gave was profound and very moving, but it made me furious that any parent should have to get that support. It should not be like this. Schools should be genuinely free. That means things like textbooks, technology and excursion costs should be covered. That means there should be free breakfast and lunch programs in every public school.
The state and federal governments are underfunding schools in my electorate by more than $30 million each year. It's not that there is no money; funding for private schools increases every year. The government is about to give a quarter of a trillion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy. Meanwhile, families suffer, our schools struggle and our next generation does not get the support they need to flourish.