Shadow Minister for Education Josh Willie said while today’s announcement of an expansion to the Student Assistance Scheme (STAS) scheme is welcome, prior to the pandemic there had been six years of government inaction to reduce financial barriers to education.
“In February, we called on the government to release its review of levies and other charges in Tasmanian state schools, as parents were in the dark about what the true cost of their children’s education would be.
“The State Schools Association backed that call and argued the threshold for levy relief needed to be higher, in line with the Commonwealth Healthcare Card.
“The Minister for Education has never released the review publicly. Today, more than six months on, he announced a change in the eligibility criteria for the STAS to align with the Healthcare Card, but what else has been recommended in the review?
“Tasmanian students already face significant financial barriers to education with additional costs such as uniforms and technology – which is demonstrated by poor educational outcomes compared to other states.
“Why has it taken six years and a global pandemic for the government to finally act and begin to remove these barriers?
“The government needs to release the review into levies and other charges in Tasmanian state schools, and come clean about the implementation of its recommendations.
“More needs to be done to ensure families don’t feel financial pressures when sending their children to school, to give them the best start in life.”
Shadow Minister for Education