SENATOR DEAN SMITH
LIBERAL SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION,
CHARITIES AND TREASURY
19 January 2024
WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith, a member of the Coalition economic team, says the concerns of many local parents and carers have been realised due to a sharp hike in education-related costs under the Albanese Government in 2024.
This week, a report by school children’s charity The Smith Family found that nearly 90% of respondents to a survey of 2,000 families were concerned about not being able to afford school supplies for the year.
More than half of the survey’s respondents said it was harder to afford all the things their child needed for school than last year.
46% feared they were not going to be able to afford the right uniform or shoes for their children.
The Smith Family report comes in the wake of recent estimates that reveal families are spending on average $2,547 a year to send a child to primary school – a figure that increases to $4,793 for secondary school.
In total, there has been an almost 5% rise in education costs since Labor was elected.
It should come as no surprise that these costs are pushing vulnerable groups further to the brink.
In September 2022, a hearing of the Senate Cost of Living Committee heard that about 7,000 grandparent carers in WA were earning less than $19,000 a year, and living below the poverty line.
Representations from the group flagged back to school costs as a major challenge.
The same Committee heard from YouthCARE, whose CEO, Tamsyn Cullingford, confirmed that the past 18 months had seen schools and families who were previously completely self-reliant ask for the charity’s help.
Senator Dean Smith said Labor is consistently failing in its promise to reduce the cost of living for Western Australians.
“Under Labor, parents and carers are worried about covering the cost of sending their children to school – irrespective of whether they are public or private,” Senator Smith said.
“The 5% rise in education costs comes when home rentals have increased 27% under Labor, and monthly repayments on an average mortgage for a $500,000 home are growing by more than $1,000 since Labor were elected,” he said.
“These intense cost of living pressures mean parents and carers are starting to make heart-breaking decisions such as pulling their children out of extra-curricular activities because they simply can’t afford them.”
“They are feeling the heat at every angle under Labor and it’s getting worse.”