Parents of Western Australia's 300,000 school students faced a $100 hike in back-to-school costs for every child because of the Liberals' Goods and Services Tax, Education Minister Kay Hallahan said today.
Mrs Hallahan said thousands of parents would be worse off and the quality of education would decline under Opposition plans for the State's education system.
She said the combined effect of the Goods and Services Tax and Liberal giveaways to rich private schools meant Government schools would suffer.
"The GST will mean a hike in costs for every student because it applies to school books, school uniforms, shoes, stationery, school bags, canteen food and bus fares," Mrs Hallahan said.
"Mr Court is playing the handmaiden to Dr Hewson despite the fact that the GST will hurt Western Australian families.
"Parents have a hard enough time meeting back-to-school costs now without the added burden of the GST."
The Minister said under the GST:
· school books would go up by 10.45 per cent;
· uniforms would go up by 11.28 per cent;
· shoes would go up by 11.28 per cent;
· stationery would go up by 3.71 per cent;
· school bags would go up by 3.71 per cent;
· bus and rail fares would rise by 6.59 per cent;
· shoe repairs would rise by 10.51 per cent; and
· canteen food would rise by 9.59 per cent.
The Minister also condemned Liberal plans to boost the coffers of rich private schools with a $5 million windfall.
"Under Mr Court's funding formula, wealthy private schools would be given a 59 per cent - or $5 million - Government funding increase at the expense of Government, parish and community schools," she said.
"This is at the same time as the Federal Liberals plan cuts of at least five per cent in Commonwealth grants to the States which would further reduce Government, parish and community school finances."
Mrs Hallahan said the Labor Government allocated funding to non-Government schools on the basis of need.