With most students returning to school around the country today, Australian parents have sent a clear message to Labor to end school funding inequality, with new survey data showing that 70% believe government funding should be stripped from private schools while the public system remains underfunded.

Half of all parents surveyed believe that private schools should receive no government support at all.

Only 1.3% of public schools in Australia currently receive their bare minimum funding, which means 2.5 million students are returning this year to under-resourced schools that are not able to deliver them the education they deserve.

Meanwhile, 98% of private schools receive more government funding than they are supposed to.

The Lonergan Research poll of 1005 Australian parents of public and private school children, commissioned by the Greens, also found:

  • 3 in 5 parents, including 48% of private school parents, believe the Australian school system is designed to benefit wealthier families
  • two thirds of parents, including 52% of private school parents, think that private schools that receive public funding should not be able to charge fees
  • Three quarters of parents, including 54% of private school parents, said that private schools receiving government funding should not be able to pick and choose which students they accept
  • 69% of parents believe that private schools have too much money

Greens spokesperson on Education (Primary & Secondary) Senator Penny Allman-Payne said:

“This poll shows that Australian parents know that the school system is inherently unfair and that public schools are copping a raw deal.

“Even parents of private school kids acknowledge that the system is rigged in their favour.

“Under Labor and the Coalition, elite private schools have for decades been subsidised with billions of dollars of government largesse, while the public system – which is responsible for educating more than 80% of our most disadvantaged kids – has languished. Labor’s own review into the school system called out this shocking disparity. 

“While the richest schools in the country are building gleaming monuments to their privilege, schools in our poorest and most remote communities slide further and further into decline.  

“If Labor is genuine about leaving no one behind then fully funding public schools is a great inflation-neutral way to reduce the cost burden on families and give our kids a brighter future.

“The new National School Reform Agreement and bilateral deals are being negotiated right now. With Labor in power federally and in every mainland state and territory they have absolutely no excuse not to deliver 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard to every public school by January 2025.”

School polling table

Lonergan methodology statement


Today’s so-called “deal” between the federal and WA Labor governments on school funding looks more like a stitch-up for public school kids than an end to the inequality crisis in our schools, the Australian Greens say.

Greens spokesperson on Education (Primary & Secondary), Senator Penny Allman-Payne said:

“There is no new deal for full funding of public schools in WA, or anywhere else in the country for that matter.

“What’s been announced today is an agreement to make an agreement to keep public schools underfunded into the future.

“States and territories are able to claim 4% in non-school costs as part of their contribution to public school funding. That means that even if this deal-to-make-a-deal produces actual funding reforms, the WA school system will only receive 96% of its bare minimum funding. 

“If this is the model that the federal education minister is looking to roll out to the rest of the country then Labor is leaving 2.5 million public school kids short changed. Again.

“To fix the teacher shortage crisis, ensure all schools have the resources they need, and end schooling inequality, Labor must deliver 100% full SRS funding to all public schools by the start of the next National School Reform Agreement, in January 2025.”

Australia–New Zealand Ministers Consultations

Australia will host the inaugural Australia–New Zealand Foreign and Defence Ministers Consultations (ANZMIN) in Melbourne on 1 February.

Australia and New Zealand are the closest of friends – we share the bonds of history, geography and community.

We also share a common strategic outlook and vision for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region.

ANZMIN 2024 is an opportunity to strengthen our partnership, advance our shared interests with Pacific partners, and deepen our defence interoperability.

Our relationship has never been more important and our two countries are most effective when we work together.

Ministers will also meet for their respective Defence Ministers’ Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Consultations.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP said:

“We look forward to hosting Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Minister Judith Collins in Melbourne for the inaugural ANZMIN meeting.

“As our region is being reshaped, Australia and New Zealand are committed to ensuring our alliance evolves in line with our strategic circumstances, is responsive and fit-for-purpose, and that we listen and work with our Pacific partners.

“This visit will build on Australia and New Zealand’s shared security interests, long-standing links between our people and the enduring spirit of Anzac.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong said:

“Australia sees New Zealand as family. As we face sharper strategic challenges and a more complex world, our partnership is indispensable.

“As allies and partners in the region, we rely on each other for the security and wellbeing of our citizens, and our Pacific neighbours count on us to deliver for our shared interests.

“ANZMIN 2024 will chart a course for this new phase of our strategic partnership.”

Industry and academic experts collaborate with NSW Government to help shape our digital future

The NSW Government is rebooting the state’s digital strategy, with industry leaders coming together at a roundtable in Sydney today to explore new ways to harness technology to improve service delivery, enhance inclusion and boost the economy.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Jihad Dib joined digital experts and representatives from industry and academia to discuss the future of digital to ensure it is meeting the needs of people, communities and businesses across NSW. 

The new State Digital Strategy will reset the digital ambition for NSW in the context of emerging technology opportunities and evolving community needs, with the roundtable helping develop the blueprint for digital services and collaboration.

Digital resilience and inclusion, improved frontline services, and harnessing AI responsibly are among the key priorities for the new strategy, which will investigate how technology can enable better outcomes for NSW residents in focus areas such as frontline services, housing and the environment.

NSW is a leading jurisdiction when it comes to digital innovation, particularly in developing a secure Digital Identity for citizens, with the roundtable an opportunity to ensure progress continues to be made. 

In an Australian first, NSW residents can now renew their Working with Children Check online using verifiable credential technology, setting the foundation for further uses of the technology to make government services and transactions more accessible.

As digital and technology trends continue to evolve, the roundtable will help Digital.NSW capture up-to-date feedback from the sector to inform the new strategy, targeted for release later this year.   

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Jihad Dib said:

“Today’s conversation is a valuable opportunity to work with industry experts as we shape the new State Digital Strategy to best meet the evolving needs of our communities.”

“The strategy is intended to help guide investment to deliver on government priorities and allow more people across the state to benefit from digital initiatives.”

“As technology evolves, it will also help ensure the NSW Government is ready to meet the resulting changes and challenges so we can continue to deliver safe, resilient services and build a digitally innovative future.”

“The digital economy is an important source of employment in NSW and a growth sector we are keen to see benefit from a strong focus across the public sector.”  

“Bringing together industry and academic leaders at today’s roundtable will capture input from experts across the sector and allow us to share the government’s research and thinking.”

Make the Move puts regional NSW on the map for essential workers

The NSW Government is today launching the Make the Move Campaign, spotlighting the stories of nurses, police, teachers, firefighters and midwives who have made the move from metropolitan NSW to regional NSW.

This is one element of the NSW Government’s commitment to boost the number of essential workers in regional NSW.

The campaign targets those living in Sydney. First responders, healthcare workers and educators featured in this series will share how moving to regional NSW has provided lifestyle benefits and fresh opportunities to pursue new interests and hobbies outside of work.

The Make the Move campaign captures the everyday experiences and benefits that regional living can provide, such as swapping long city commutes for more time walking the dog, taking a dip before dinner, or coaching a junior sporting team. Over the next few months these stories will be shared on radio, print, digital and social media channels and bus shelters.

The campaign hopes to encourage essential workers currently living in Sydney to consider a move to regional NSW to help boost the local workforce to ensure communities have the best services and care possible.

The campaign will also target audiences in Adelaide to encourage South Australian essential workers to consider moving to nearby regional NSW communities, such as Broken Hill.

Part of the Essential Worker Attraction Program, the Make the Move campaign is among a suite of NSW Government initiatives aimed at encouraging essential workers to move to the regions, such as The Welcome Experience, which provides essential workers and their families with practical and tailored support to help them relocate and connect with their new communities.

This comes off the back of the NSW Government announcement this week that rural health worker recruitment and retentions have surged by a fifth in just the last 6 months, after the NSW Government doubled the support available under the Rural Health Workforce Incentive Scheme from $10,000 to $20,000.

Find practical information about how to Make the Move.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“The NSW Government is serious about ensuring the people of regional NSW have access to quality critical services. A robust regional workforce is a vital part of that.

“Regional NSW has so much to offer, and this campaign aims to show essential workers the opportunities and benefits that become available when they make the switch from the city.

“Moving to a new place can be daunting, but this campaign is part of a broader program that is helping essential workers relocate to the regions with practical support to help them settle into their new communities.”

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said:

“Regional NSW residents are already aware of the great lifestyle benefits of living in the regions, and the Make the Move campaign is all about spreading the word to our peers in metro areas.

“This campaign shows that there is much more to living in regional NSW than fresh air, easy commutes and wide-open spaces. There are great cafes and restaurants to explore, art and cultural events to enjoy and sporting clubs ready to roll out the welcome mat.

“Make the Move shares the experiences of those who have already taken the leap and found the change has given them more time to do the things they are passionate about, as well as the opportunity to have a big backyard and raise a family within a close-knit community.

“With more than a third of the state’s population living in regional NSW, boosting the workforce to ensure regional communities have better access to quality services is really important.

“Part of our Essential Worker Attraction Program, the Make the Move campaign makes a compelling case for living and working in the regions while promoting regional NSW as a great place to escape the rat race, get ahead and be part of a supportive community.”

Firefighter and casual special needs teacher living in Goulburn Mr Jason McPherson said:

“We love calling Goulburn home. My wife and I made the decision to return after 4 years in Sydney as we really value the affordable lifestyle, as well as the space and strong sense of community that a country upbringing could offer our kids.

“We escaped the skyrocketing city house prices to buy our own home as well as some land, we enjoy easier commutes, and thanks to the quieter lifestyle of regional living we have more time to spend together as a family to focus on the important things in life.

“Our kids are involved in various sporting clubs, they learn guitar at the local conservatorium and we know there are so many great options out there to help them stay active and pursue their passions, whether it be through sport, the vibrant creative arts scene, or signing up to the local theatre group.

“As a busy family of 6, we love the quality of life that regional NSW has to offer and we’d recommend it to anyone seeking a refreshing tree change.”

NSW Government to ensure continuity of care at Hawkesbury Hospital

The NSW Government will assume responsibility for the provision of healthcare at Hawkesbury Hospital after St John of God Health Care advised it would not renew its contract to provide services at the facility.

As a result, services provided by SJHC will transition to Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD). It is expected the transition of Hawkesbury Hospital to the NSW Government will be completed by 30 June 2024.

The NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park says patients at the Hawkesbury District Health Service – known as the Hawkesbury Hospital – can rest assured they will continue to receive high quality, safe, and compassionate care.

The Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District will ensure the skill, knowledge and expertise of the hospital’s staff will be absorbed under the new arrangements with the NSW Government.

NSW Health will work with staff and their relevant unions to transition their employment from St John of God to the public health system.

The hospital will remain open throughout the entirety of the transition period.

This will include its 24-hour emergency department, operating theatres, community health services and outpatients’ clinics.

Public patient appointments and clinic hours will not be impacted.

NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park said:

“NSW Health and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District is well placed to continue to provide high quality healthcare to patients.

“I want to assure the community that the excellent care and services at Hawkesbury Hospital will remain unchanged.

“And I want to assure staff that NSW Health will engage closely and regularly with you throughout this period to provide for as smooth a transition as possible.

Blue Mountains Local Health District Chief Executive, Lee Gregory said:

“We deliver world-class, innovative health care from our 4 hospital campuses and 9 community health centres, providing 24-hour comprehensive care to over 380,000 residents across the Nepean, Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Hawkesbury region.

“NBMLHD is proud of our enduring and deep connection to the community and we look forward to continuing to build on our 150 years of health care service.”

Chris Minns bungles Anzac day

ANZAC Day is one of the most important days on the Australian calendar, when we remember the selfless sacrifice made by our service men and women in operations across the world.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Speakman said it is beyond comprehension how the Minns Labor Government allowed the situation around the Pandemonium music festival to be so badly handled.
“It is a clear leadership failure by Chris Minns and his inept government that an event which has been advertised for weeks and reportedly in contract negotiations for months had not been appropriately handled,” Mr Speakman said.
“Having had to scramble today, Chris Minns has now said that it would not be appropriate for major rock concerts to be held anywhere in NSW on the day, making it unclear whether he supports the NRL and other sporting fixtures planned for ANZAC Day.”
“Chris Minns needs to be upfront and explain whether taxpayers’ money will now have to be paid in compensation to the festival, because of the Labor Government’s mishandling of this situation.”
Shadow Minister for Veterans Robyn Preston said the lack of awareness by the Minns ministers of this situation shows once again that they are out of their depth.
“Chris Minns has once again had to clean up after his team, while his Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Minister for Veterans and Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy all seem to be missing,” Ms Preston said.
“ANZAC Day is a solemn day to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our service men and women. Australia has lost over 100,000 lives in wars and peacekeeping roles, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect.”
“I hope all communities across NSW join us in honouring this day.”

Body located in search for missing man – Hunter region

A body, believed to be that of a man reported missing from the Hunter region, has been located.

Hunter Valley Police District issued public appeals for information and launched an extensive search after a 38-year-old man was reported missing from Aberdeen on Sunday (28 January 2024).

During a co-ordinated land search, the body of a man was located in bushland off Campbell Street, Aberdeen about 3.20pm (Wednesday 31 January 2024.

Whilst the body is yet to be formally identified, it is believed to be that of the missing man.

The death is not being treated as suspicious, a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

El Niño support for Timor-Leste and the Pacific

Australia is investing $5 million to help Timor-Leste and the Pacific prepare for and respond to the early impacts of El Niño.

Our region is experiencing the effects of climate change and, in 2024, climate-related hazards and disasters are expected to intensify. The El Niño system brings extremely dry conditions to some areas of the region and wild weather to others.

In Timor-Leste, drought is impacting agriculture, freshwater availability and food security. Countries in the Pacific are facing similar challenges due to increased cyclone activity and flooding.

Australia is supporting the pre-positioning of non-food items, water conservation and storage, establish water systems and support food security. We are doing this as part of our partnership with the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Humanitarian Partnership, which works with communities.

This responds to our Timor-Leste and Pacific partners’ calls for early action, and concrete support to address the impacts of climate change. It will protect people’s lives and livelihoods, reduce costs and allow communities to recover better and faster from disasters.

Australia also welcomes the release of USD2 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to respond to El Niño-related drought in Timor-Leste.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong said:

“Climate change threatens the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of Timor-Leste and the Pacific.

“In partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste, we stand with our region to meet the challenges of climate change and El Niño.”

Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP said:

“By investing in locally led early response systems, we aim to reduce the humanitarian impacts of any disasters that face the Pacific and Timor-Leste. This delivers on Australia’s commitment to help Pacific partners and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“Australia’s support to build resilience to crises is closely aligned with the Pacific’s ambitions and commitments, including under the Boe Declaration and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.”

NSW Women’s Week 2024 to inspire inclusion

The 2024 NSW Women’s Week series of events, set to kick off from Monday 4 March to Sunday 10
March, will focus on inclusivity and celebrating the achievements of women across NSW.

Funded by the NSW Government, this year’s events will showcase the remarkable stories and accomplishments of women from diverse backgrounds, including:

  • regional/rural/remote NSW
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • living with disability
  • culturally and linguistically diverse.

The NSW Women’s Week grants program provided 16 organisations with a share of $300,000 in government funding for activities that celebrate, connect, and pay tribute to the state’s women and

The week-long celebration will culminate with the announcement of the winners of the NSW Women of the Year Awards 2024 at a ceremony on Thursday 7 March.

Find out more about NSW Women’s Week 2024 and register for an event. 

NSW Premier Chris Minns said:

“NSW Women’s Week is a time to bring communities together to work towards gender equality and inclusion.

“The week is all about shining the spotlight on the women and girls whose determination, bravery, skill and passion should be celebrated and shared, inspiring others to achieve great things.

“Advancing gender equality in NSW is a key priority for my government which we highlighted in the 2023-24 Budget – from creating economic opportunities through participation and empowerment, to providing essential healthcare and appropriate support services.

“I look forward to seeing the exciting line up of NSW Women’s Week events unfold and meeting the remarkable women and girls nominated for the Women of the Year Awards.”

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said:

“NSW Women’s Week is a time to celebrate women and girls in NSW, their contributions to our families and communities, their strengths and achievements in social, cultural and political life.

“Our Women’s Week events focus on supporting accessibility and activities that reflect the diversity of our communities.

“In particular, we wanted to make sure the events aligned with the objectives of the NSW Women’s Strategy which is to help improve the economic, social and physical wellbeing of women and girls across the state.

“NSW Women’s Week is a great opportunity to get together to share knowledge and work towards gender equality, and inspire the next generation of leaders.

“There is something for women of all ages and backgrounds, and I encourage you to find out what is happening in your community this NSW Women’s Week and get involved.”