Release type: Media Release


Labor play politics with the safe reopening of Australian schools


The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business
Acting Minister for Education and Youth

The Morrison Government condemns Labor’s bald-faced attempt to politicise the reopening of Australians schools. The medical advice is clear that it is safe for Australian kids to go back to school. 

While the Federal Government continues to work constructively with all States and Territories to reopen our schools safely, Labor have sought to peddle fear through a cheap political stunt on school ventilation one week out of schools reopening.

National Cabinet has already considered and agreed a clear process to reopen schools safely. As part of their return to school operational plans, States and Territories have undertaken checks on ventilation within their schools and identified appropriate localised solutions in accordance with medical advice.

The Federal Government has regularly engaged with state and territory governments to identify further supports that could be provided by the Commonwealth to support return to schools and face-to-face learning, including ventilation systems. The overwhelming feedback was the need for localised solutions rather than broad-brushed one-size-fits-all policy.

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, called for Labor to apologise for seeking to politicise the reopening of schools. 
‘One week out from Australian schools reopening, Australian parents deserve better than Anthony Albanese using his national platform to scare them and their kids and undercut the reopening plans,’ Minister Robert said.

‘The public health advice is clear, schools are safe for kids. The only person suggesting otherwise is Anthony Albanese.’ 

Just like their thought bubble to waste $3 billion in taxpayer money encouraging Australians to get a vaccine, this latest effort is similarly a solution looking for a problem.

Labor have reheated their Rudd-era school halls plan which resulted in millions of dollars of taxpayer money being blown on overpriced school halls, local contractors missing out on payments and multinationals laughing all the way to the bank. This latest iteration is wildly underfunded with less than $46,000 allocated for each school in Australia, not even enough to build a single classroom. They need to be straight with the Australian people, who will miss out? 

Labor needs to say how much they will spend on school refurbishments and how much will they spend on students’ mental health.

Since March 2020, the Morrison Government has made available more than $1 billion to respond to the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a substantial investment in mental health supports via telehealth.

The Morrison Government has made mental health and suicide prevention a national priority, investing $2.3 billion in the 2021-22 Budget for the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

We are also providing nearly $276 million for other school-based wellbeing programs, including the National School Chaplaincy Program and the Student Wellbeing Hub.

Labor’s track record on delivering government programs is disastrous. Just like cash for clunkers, overpriced school halls and Pink Batts, this latest effort should remind Australians why Labor cannot be trusted with your hard-earned taxpayer money.