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OECD Fact Book 2006

Jean Walker

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Interesting media release I just recieved.

Media Release Jenny Macklin MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Education, Training, Science & Research


Public investment in Australia’s schools, TAFEs and universities has gone backwards under the Howard Government, according to the OECD Fact Book 2006.

Australia’s public investment in education is now below the average for the rest of the developed world.

Private expenditure in education (all levels) shot up a massive 40 per cent between 1995 and 2002, jumping from 1.2 per cent of GDP in 1995 to 1.5 per cent in 2002. This is more than double the OECD average. Over the same period, Australian public spending on education fell from 4.5 per cent of GDP to 4.4 per cent.

It should be a ‘no-brainer’ but after ten long years in Government, John Howard still doesn’t understand that Australia should be leading the way in education.

The OECD Fact Book 2006, released last night, also showed Australia was one of only 5 OECD nations to actually reduce government funding for tertiary education per student between 1995 and 2002 – alongside the Czech Republic, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Sweden.

The OECD figures also show that Australian students are paying the price for this short-sighted neglect of education.

Spending for each Australian tertiary student fell 7 per cent since 1995 compared to an average 12 per cent increase for other OECD nations (where data were available) between 1995 to 2002.

While John Howard has Australia in reverse, countries like India and China have their feet firmly on the accelerator. India has committed to boosting public expenditure to 6 per cent of GDP while China’s higher education sector is producing 440,000 engineers a year.

It is no wonder that Australian businesses are crying out for skilled workers when the Howard Government has been winding back public investment in education and training.

Australia’s economic future will increasingly require local businesses to compete against firms from India and China without the skilled workers they need.

The OECD report is a damning indictment of the Howard Government at a time when the Australian economy is being damaged by an acute shortage of skilled workers.

More Info: Nick Talbot 02 6277 4277/0408 473 278 29 March 2006

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