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20 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 high-efficiency low-emission carbon capture and storage facilities, recognising that a technology-neutral approach is the best way to solve these issues. (Time expired) The PRESIDENT: Senator Fawcett, a final supplementary question. Senator FAWCETT (South Australia—Deputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:25): Can the minister advise if there are any obstacles to a coordinated national approach to energy policy? Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia—Minister for Education and Training) (14:25): Sadly, we do face obstacles, in the form of state-based renewable energy targets and in the form of those opposite, with their own reckless renewable energy targets. Around 18 months ago, this Senate agreed to reform the renewable energy target. But it took only one month for the Labor Party, having agreed with the reforms that we put through at that time, to backflip, change their position and say they wanted to see a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. They have never said what that would cost; they have never done any modelling; they have never released any details around it. But Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates it will require $48 billion in investment. That is $48 billion in costs that will flow through to electricity users right around Australia. That is $2,000 for every man, woman and child, or more than $5,000 for every household in additional electricity costs that would come about because of the policies of those opposite. They need to realise that stability and affordability are key, and that is exactly what we are working towards. (Time expired) Education Funding Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:26): My question is to Senator Brandis, the Minister representing the Prime Minister. After the Abbott-Turnbull government broke its promise to match Labor's education spending dollar for dollar, and after years of delay and speculation, the Senate yesterday called on the Minister for Education and Training to finally release his plans for school funding. Schools are getting desperate. Will the Prime Minister accept yesterday's resolution of the Senate, show some leadership and make his minister finally release his plans for school funding? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:27): Thank you very much indeed, Senator Collins. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to advise the Senate about the Australian government's commitment to school funding. You asked for information; here it is. This government is making a record overall investment of $73.9 billion in recurrent funding for schools over the next four years, 2016-17 to 2019-20. Indeed, our funding will grow each and every year from $16.1 billion in 2016 to $20.2 billion in 2020. That is an increase of more than 25 per cent in just four years. In fact, Australian government funding for schools has been increasing for several decades. Between 1987-88 and 2011-12, total public funding for schools doubled in real terms while student enrolments increased by only 18 per cent. But I am sorry to say that, while our funding has been growing, our results have been in decline. How much funding we provide is important, but what is more important is what we do with it. Funding should go where it is needed most and should be used in ways that we know will deliver results. We know that our friends from the Australian Labor Party, like Senator Collins and her colleagues, have this faith that the more money you throw at an issue the better off you are, but we in the coalition know that what you need is outcomes, and outcomes are not measured only by the amount of money you throw at them but by the actual outcomes in which you invest. And, in the case of education, that means in particular academic standards. The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, a supplementary question. Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:29): Why is the government so keen to hide its plans for school funding from parents, teachers and students? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:29): Senator Collins, I do not think you could have been listening, because I just spent the last two minutes telling you what our plans for school funding are. Senator Jacinta Collins: You can't hide this, George! Senator BRANDIS: I spent the last two minutes, so let me tell you more, Senator Collins. The budget commits $73.9 billion—I told you that before, Senator Collins—over the next four years, 2016-17 to 2019-20. Senator Jacinta Collins: Even private schools are squawking! Senator BRANDIS: It includes an additional $1.2 billion for schools, over four years, from 2017-18, which was announced in the last budget. Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the coalition boosted per-student funding to government schools—Senator Collins, you asked me about government schools—by 7.3 per cent. Senator JACINTA COLLINS: No, I didn't! CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 21 Senator BRANDIS: You did in your interjection. And to nongovernment schools by 5.3 per cent. (Time expired) The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, a final supplementary question. Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:30): Thank you, Mr President. I wish the minister would actually listen to the question and the interjections, but my supplementary question is— Government senators interjecting— Senator JACINTA COLLINS: He misheard the interjection! He clearly misheard it, and the record will show it. The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, your question? Senator JACINTA COLLINS: Will the government reverse its broken promise and match Labor's school funding dollar for dollar, as it committed, instead of trying to hide the impact of their $30 billion cuts? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:31): Senator Collins, firstly, your question is based on an entirely false premise—that there has been a broken promise—and, secondly, the answer to your question, 'Will the government follow dollar for dollar the Labor Party's policies?' is: we will not be imitating the Labor Party's policies, because they are bad policies. When we invest in education, just as when we invest in any other area of social spending, or indeed with any spending, we make sure that there is the money in the budget to pay for it. That is the big difference, Senator Collins—through you, Mr President—between your side of politics, who promise the world but never find the money to afford it, and our side of politics, who actually spend money that is accounted for in the budget. That is why we have been able to commit a record $73.9 billion in education funding, in schools funding, over the next four years. (Time expired) Iraq and Syria Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Defence, Senator Payne. Can the minister please update the Senate on the campaign to defeat Daesh in Iraq and in Syria? Senator PAYNE (New South Wales—Minister for Defence) (14:33): I thank Senator Reynolds, the Chair of the Defence Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, for her question. I can indicate that Daesh is under increasing pressure from Iraqi security forces, which are being supported by the international counter-Daesh coalition. Indeed, Daesh continue to lose territory, finances, fighters and battles. The focus in Iraq remains on the liberation of Mosul, the terrorist organisation's final stronghold in that country. As we said from the outset, when this began in October, this will be a long and complex operation. In the last weeks, Iraqi Security forces have liberated east Mosul from Daesh, and operations to liberate west Mosul will commence soon. The terrain in west Mosul does make it more difficult to clear. The narrow roads and the density of the buildings will cause much of the fighting to occur at very close quarters. There will, of course, be good days and some days that involve setbacks, but, with the continued effort of the ISF and the international coalition, Daesh will be defeated in Mosul. Tomorrow I will travel to Brussels to meet with my ministerial counterparts from the counter-Daesh coalition, at NATO and more broadly, to discuss the next steps in the plan to defeat this terrorist organisation. While in Brussels this week, I will also meet with US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, to discuss our important shared interests and security concerns. The defense secretary and I spoke in January, and I look forward to this important bilateral meeting this week. The PRESIDENT: Senator Reynolds, a supplementary question. Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:34): Can the minister further advise the Senate of Australia's contribution to the campaign to liberate Mosul? Senator PAYNE (New South Wales—Minister for Defence) (14:34): Australian forces in particular continue to make a significant contribution in the campaign to liberate Mosul, and I want to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by our ADF personnel in country and, of course, by their families at home on our behalf. ADF personnel deployed to the building partner capacity mission at Taji are continuing to build both the capability and the expertise of Iraqi forces to retake, to hold and to stabilise liberated areas. Our Special Operations Task Group is advising and assisting the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service units in support of the Mosul offensive, and the SOTG have in fact enabled more than 450 coalition airstrikes, which are critical to the Counter Terrorism Service's momentum. Our Air Task Group continues to make a significant contribution in the campaign against Daesh, with our F/A-18s striking more than 120 targets in support of operations around Mosul, our tanker providing air-to-air refuelling and our Wedgetail providing aircraft— (Time expired) CHAMBER

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