The Federal Government has announced a $47 million funding boost to help support Indigenous students in Western Australia.
1 Aug 2017 - 11:51 AM  UPDATED 1 Aug 2017 - 11:51 AM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $46.7 million package as part of his government's changes to school funding. 

Mr Turnbull was joined by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt, in his electorate of Hasluck, and Education Minister Simon Birmingham to unveil the new funding that forms part of the latest Gonski package.

Mr Turnbull says the state copped an unfair deal from the Labor Party on school funding, which his government has now addressed. 

"I am proud to be leading a government that for the first time is ensuring that all students in Western Australia get fair, consistent, needs-based funding on the same basis as students everywhere else in Australia. It is a first," he told reporters at Swan View Senior High School, just outside of Perth. 

Simon Birminhgam says the needs-based funding will see the extra money flow particularly into support for Indigenous student loadings over the next decade.  

"That's extra support to help students who often start with many challenges and educational disadvantages and to help bring them up to scale because what's most important is not the amount of money that a school gets but how it's used," he said. 

The arrangement is expected to see support for indigenous students in the state grow at a faster rate than any other state or territory - from $1,480 per student a year in 2017 to $2,626 by 2027. 

Mr Birmingham says the funding will ensure record investment in a variety of programs. 

"In early interventions, in speech pathology, in one-on-one teacher time, in fantastic programs the likes of which we heard about at this school today. Investing in helping students to follow their dreams, to build their dreams, to acquire the skills, the confidence that is necessary to be able to succeed and that’s precisely what our reforms will help people do in future." 

The government claims previous school funding arrangements would have left WA students with less money than if they went to the same school in another state.

Mr Turnbull said the reforms would be a game-changer for students in WA.

"My government's new schools funding plan will ensure the students that need the most support get the most support," he said.

Australia's first Indigenous federal minister, Ken Wyatt, said the additional support for indigenous students in WA was critical to level the playing field.

"There can be additional barriers indigenous students face compared with those from non-indigenous backgrounds and I'm proud that the Turnbull government is the first in Australia's history to adopt real needs-based funding," he said.

The announcement kicks off Mr Turnbull's visit to WA, his first in nearly six months.

The prime minister arrived on Sunday ahead of a cabinet meeting on Monday, and is set to spend much of the week in the state.


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