Wednesday, December 07, 2016

NSWTF – PISA results show why we need equity in schools funding

Submitted by nswtf on 6 December 2016

Australia’s continuing decline in the PISA international school test results shows the urgent need for investment in disadvantaged schools, the AEU said today.

AEU Deputy Federal President Maurie Mulheron said the data showed that years of distorted schools funding had failed to lift results, or close the big gaps in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

“Australia’s results have declined from 2000 to 2015 – a period where schools funding became more inequitable, and the biggest funding increases went to the schools which needed them the least,” Mr Mulheron said.

“Australia is still above the OECD average in its PISA scores, so we need to recognise the strengths of our school system, but take action to address the inequities that are hurting our performance.

“We now have gaps equivalent to three years of schooling between students from rich and poor areas, and that is what is dragging our results down. We need the full needs-based Gonski funding to give all students a chance to succeed.

 “Between 2009 and 2014 total recurrent government funding per student to public schools rose by 14.6%, while funding to private schools rose by 30%.”

“While the Gonski reforms are beginning to address these distortions, when the PISA tests were taken in 2015 less than 10 per cent of the total funding increases from the Gonski agreements had been delivered.

“We need the full six years of needs-based Gonski funding right through until 2019 to ensure all schools have the resources they need for their students.

The 2015 PISA data showed:

  • The difference in results between students from the highest SES quartile and the lowest were a full three years of schooling in maths, science and reading.
  • Students from advantaged backgrounds were five times as likely to be high performers as students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The difference in results between students from metropolitan areas and regional areas was equivalent to at least one full year of schooling in maths, science and reading.
  • The PISA Report finds that equity of resourcing is vital for improving the overall success of a school system.

p.205: “How educational resources are distributed among students of different backgrounds can be an important determinant of equity in education opportunities. Education systems that are successful, both in quality and equity, attract the highest quality resources to where these resources can make the most difference.”

p.206: “PISA consistently finds that high performance and greater equity in education opportunities and outcomes are not mutually exclusive. In this light, success in education can be defined as a combination of high levels of achievement and high levels of equity.”

“These are the principles behind the Gonski agreements, which recognised the importance of funding schools on the basis of student need,” Mr Mulheron said.

“The Turnbull Government’s plan to cut $3.8 billion from schools and move away from needs-based funding after 2017 will deny schools the resources they need and entrench inequity in education.

“It is no wonder the majority of states and territories have said they do not support the Federal Government’s plan to cut schools funding. They have seen what Gonski funding is delivering in schools, and know how crucial it is for the future.”

ACTU – CUB Workers Victory

Six months ago, the 55 workers who maintain the CUB brewery in Abbotsford were sacked and offered their jobs back with a 65% pay cut.

They refused to accept this. And it’s ordinary people from every corner of this country who have stood with them. Thousands of people have refused to drink CUB and have spread the word in their local communities, from Darwin to Grafton and from Cairns to Geelong.

These efforts turned #BoycottCUB into the biggest consumer boycott of our generation.

Alongside the 55 workers and their unions who refused to give up, it worked. The new management at CUB accepted all of the demands of the 55.

Help us to celebrate this historic win for working people – please share this graphic and include

Wondering what drink to celebrate with? CUB beer will now be proudly union-made at the Abbotsford brewery again. Cheers to that.

Our efforts show that no matter how strong a company thinks it is, if it chooses to treat its workers badly, we can stand together and can beat anyone.

If another company tries this on we’re ready.

Make sure you are too: sign up to volunteer with Australian Unions and keep fighting with us for decent jobs.

In solidarity,

Dave Oliver
ACTU Secretary

ACTU – Pensioners face pre-Christmas hit from Scrooge-like Turnbull

6 December 2016

On 1 January 2017 the Federal Government will make changes to the Age Pension, meaning around 300,000 to 350,000 Australians can expect a cut to their income as a present this Christmas.

Pensioners will start to lose eligibility to the full pension from a relatively small amount of assets (around $350,000 for a couple who own their own home). The amount they lose from the pension now drops away much more steeply than before, with access to the part-pension ending at a level where previously a couple would have received about $250 per week.

The table below shows the reduction in pension which is to occur.

The pension cuts affect much of middle Australia in retirement - mainly retirees with a combined pension and superannuation retirement income of around $1000 per week (as a couple). This group is paying for all the savings made by the Government in this area, through their pensions being cut - and the richest, those who can afford to pay more - are paying very little extra.

Affected retirees will now have a lower standard of living in retirement than what they had planned for and many will be forced to dip into their superannuation savings faster than what is generally advised. Instead of super being planned to last 20-25 years into retirement it may only last a little over 10 years.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

  • “This is just the latest example of the Federal Government trying to improve the budget by squeezing hard working people in their retirement.”
  • “The pensioners targeted by these cuts have worked hard their whole lives and are entitled to a comfortable retirement.”
  • “They rely on the pension to make ends meet each week and now the government is pulling the rug out from under them.”
  • “It’s disgraceful that some pensioners are going to be told just before Christmas that they are hundreds of dollars a week out of pocket, all while Malcolm Turnbull continues to spruik a massive corporate tax handout.”

Impact of proposed Pension cuts:
- $56
- $106
- $156
- $206
- $256
- $278
- $36
- $86
- $136
- $186
- $236
- $242
- $35.50
- $85.50
- $135.50
- $185.50
- $193
- $65.50
- $115.50
- $157.50

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Acoss – KPMG repeats its call for an increase to Newstart

Dr Cassandra Goldie has welcomed KPMG’s repeated call for an increase to the $38-per-day Newstart Allowance by $50 per week in its latest Reform Agenda for Australia, released today.

“KPMG has described the paucity of Newstart as the largest hole in our social safety-net and has listed an increase to the payment in its top two priorities for reform”, said Dr Goldie.

“KPMG is not alone. The Business Council of Australia and the OECD have expressed concern that the low rate of payment is acting as a barrier to work and risks entrenching people in poverty.[1]

“If the biggest priority for government is jobs, then it should heed the calls of the business, union and community sectors and increase Newstart to reduce barriers to work and reduce the incidence of poverty.

“In the lead up to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, government should scrap the $5 billion in zombie social security cuts still before the Parliament that include reducing the incomes of people locked out of paid work and sole parents by at least $50 per week.

“Infrastructure investment is another priority area for reform and ACOSS calls for affordable housing to be at the top of the list. While KPMG identified investment in public housing as an economic stimulus option in the event of another financial crisis, Australia cannot wait for a financial crisis for adequate investment in affordable housing. We need an affordable housing investment strategy if we are to meet demand for social housing, reduce homelessness and ensure people are not living in housing stress.

“KPMG backs the National Reform Summit agreement that addressing the budget position of the country requires both spending and revenue reforms, and should focus on redesign of major expenditure programs that are growing in real terms and tax concessions which are no longer fit for purpose. In our view, this highlights the importance of staying with reforms in health and the retirement income system, and tackling tax breaks such as negative gearing and capital gains discounts, which are just some areas where there is a compelling case for reform.”

“A well designed package could deliver improvements to equity, efficiency, productivity and the budget bottom line.”

“ACOSS welcomes KPMG’s call to reconvene the National Reform Summit, which brought together leaders from the business, union and community sectors to discuss and put forward common ground proposals for national reform.

ACTU – The History of the Wave Hill Walkoff in Pictures