Education cuts entrench Tasmanian poverty and bad health

The Australian Education Union today condemned $109 million of cuts to education confirmed in today’s Revised Estimates Report.

“Cutting education funding when the health and wellbeing of many Tasmanian children and young people is in decline makes a bad situation worse,” said AEU Tasmania Acting State Manager Adam Clifford.

“Teachers and support staff have just spent two years campaigning for the resources they need and workloads that allow them to focus on their students’ needs. Cuts to the education department will only push more administration and work onto teachers who simply can’t afford the time.”

“The Productivity Commission has just reported that since coming to power, the Liberal Government increased funding to public education students by just 1.5 percent while increasing funding to private school students 18 percent.”

“Funding cuts and growing the gap between funding for public and private schools is no way to tackle the extreme inequality experienced by Tasmanian kids and their families.”

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Tasmania has just reported that “many wellbeing outcomes of children and young people in Tasmania have remained stagnant or worsened.” For example:

  • developmental vulnerabilities of Tasmanian children have remained unchanged since 2012.
  • There has been a 37 per cent increase in the number of children and young people in out-of-home care in Tasmania since 2011.
  • The current youth unemployment rate for 15 to 24-year olds (2019) is 14 per cent and has not changed since 2012.
  • The percentage of children and young people (0 to 24-year olds) who report having a mental or behavioural condition has increased from 10.6 per cent in 2012 to 18.8 per cent in 2018.
  • The percentage of children meeting all 21 markers on the Kindergarten Development Check has declined year on year since 2013, from 74.5 per cent in 2013 to 67.8 per cent in 2018.
  • The percentage of 15 to 24-year-old school leavers fully engaging in education, training and employment is 48.1 per cent in 2019, compared to 74.6 per cent in 2015.
  • Twenty-nine per cent of government school students have reported they frequently worry about things at home and at school (with 38 per cent of students in year 10 having reported that they frequently worry about things), and 19 per cent of senior students (Years 10 to 12) have negative feelings about the future.
  • Tasmania has only met one of the Closing the Gap targets toward equality in the health and wellbeing outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Reversing health cuts in the middle of a crisis while going ahead with cuts to education is short sighted and lacks compassion and common sense.”

“It is increasingly clear that health is determined by social factors such as education, evidenced by the 19 year life expectancy gap between Bridgewater and New Town.1 It’s time for investment in young people and their education, not cuts.”

“We used to call public schools state schools, but it seems the state government is walking away from public schools.”

“Schools are a microcosm of society, and the best preventative health measure is a good education.”


  1. PHIDU Torrens University Australia Social Health Atlases of Australia Data Release 21 January 2020