Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Brisbane private schools raise tuition fees up to three times inflation rate

Note that these are tuition fees, not boarding fees.  And they are getting close to the average wage.  There is a strong belief in private schools in Queensland, however, so those who can afford it will.  News of low discipline levels in government schools will help the committment to private schools.  If all Catholic schools are included, 40% of Australian teenagers go private.  Families save up for it.

The expensive private schools do ensure that there will be a relatively impenetrable economic elite in Australia -- which is generally deplored -- but while the government schools are so chaotic, that will continue.  No Queenslander with financial options would be likely to send his kids to a government school.  But while  Leftist ideas of educational methodology rule government schools they will reinforce a two-speed educational system.  Left-run schools are the enemy of social mobility.  Despite being "free", they provide very little competition to the private schools

PRIVATE schools across Brisbane will raise tuition fees this year by two to three times the rate of inflation.

Brisbane Boys’ College, which is owned by the scandal-stricken Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, will increase fees by 6.3 per cent in 2019 – more than three times the inflation rate of 1.9 per cent.

The school will charge $23,300 for high school students this year – $1384 more than last year’s tuition costs.

Its sister school, Clayfield College, will increase its Year 12 fees to $18,330, a 3.5 per cent increase.

Somerville House, another PMSA school, will increase fees by 3 per cent to $22,680.

The increases follow controversies over PMSA finances, a data security breach, lewd texts and the dismissal of Somerville House principal Flo Kearney last year.

Elite Catholic girls’ school Stuartholme will increase fees by $1092 to $19,176.

Queensland’s most expensive private school, Brisbane Grammar – which charged senior students $25,900 last year after making a $7.9 million surplus – has not published its 2019 fees.

But its sister school, Brisbane Girls’ Grammar, will increase fees for senior students by 3.2 per cent to $24,910 in 2019. The elite girls’ school made a $2.1 million surplus in 2017 and paid principal Jacinda Euler a $476,483 salary package.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said governing bodies tried to keep fees down, but rising costs, including increasing teacher wages, forced them up.

“Queensland independent school governing bodies are responsible for setting school fees each year, with fee levels varying from school to school depending on a range of factors such as their curriculum offerings, size of their teaching and non-teaching workforce, student needs and future plans,” Mr Robertson said.

“Boards strive to main affordable fee levels for their communities. They carefully consider the circumstances of their parent communities, their school’s level of public funding and the broader economic environment...

“Independent school boards are very conscious of the investment and sacrifice many families make for their children’s education, and endeavour to set tuition fees that are affordable for their communities, while at the same time balancing increasing staff wages, technology and other costs.

“Continuing increases in enrolments in the independent sector confirm that parents value the education provided by independent schools.

“Staff salaries, which account for about 70 per cent of school costs — and have been growing at rates above CPI, depending on the school’s enterprise bargaining arrangements — are a significant factor in school fee levels.

“Many independent schools offer scholarships or bursaries, sibling discounts and all-inclusive fee options to ensure an independent education is available to as many Queensland families as possible.”

Good Education Group’s Sam Sapuppo said parents may be unaware of hidden costs that could increase quickly. “These hidden costs could be the increasing costs of OH&S,” he said.

“Some educational costs shouldn’t be considered ‘additional costs’ but rather should be considered part of a holistic learning experience, what schools these days are calling ‘learning beyond the classroom’ such as excursions, camps, extra curricular activities, technology programs.”


Your worst fears about Labor: More than a million Australians will pay the top tax rate under Bill Shorten if he wins the election

High taxes often do NOT being in more revenue as people cut back their earnings in favour of more leisure.  This applies particularly to professiionals -- who are often high earners.  Look forward to trouble getting appointments with your doctor.  Shorten's need for more tax revenue to fund his promises may NOT be met by his tax moves -- leading to a lose-lose situation

One in 10 Australian workers would be paying almost half of their income in tax within six years if Labor wins the next election.   Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has vowed the top 49.5 per cent marginal rate will apply for those earning more than $180,000 a year. 

By the 2024-25 financial year, this could see one million Australians, or about 10 per cent of the workforce, paying almost half of their earnings in income tax.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has released economic modelling from his department showing bracket creep would push more Australians into the highest tax bracket, accusing Labor of 'embarking on a tax grab which is unprecedented in scale and scope'.

'It's a socialist experiment in redistribution the likes of which Australia has never seen, hurting our international competitiveness, reducing economic activity and punishing aspiration,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.

In the May budget Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when he was still treasurer, announced that a Coalition government, if re-elected, would return Australia to four tax brackets for the first time since 1984.

From 2024, the government has proposed having 94 per cent of Australians paying 32.5 cents for every dollar they earned.

In his budget reply speech, Mr Shorten opposed this idea. 'How on earth can it be fair for a nurse on $40,000 to pay the same tax rate as a doctor on $200,000?,' he told Parliament on May 10. 'For a cleaner to pay the same tax rate as a CEO?

'How can it be fair that, under this tax experiment: the doctor earns five times as much as the nurse - but his tax cut is 16 times bigger?'

Under the Coalition's proposed tax bracket overhaul, Australians earning more than $200,000 a year would receiving an annual tax cut of $7,225, or $139 a week.

Those earning between $180,000 and $200,000 would get a tax discount of $4,725 a year, or $91 a week, as their income tax rate dropped from 45 per cent to just 32.5 per cent for every dollar they earned above $41,000.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen confirmed in his budget reply speech in May that Labor would cancel the Coalition's plan to create a single income tax bracket for those earning between $41,000 and $200,000.

With an election due in May, Mr Frydenberg has stepped up his attack on Labor's tax plan.

He released figures showing that even under the current tax arrangements, 820,000 would be paying the top marginal tax rate of 49.5 per cent by 2024, an increase of 41 per cent from this financial year or a doubling compared with 2015.

In 2015-16, 416,000 individuals were on the top marginal tax rate, paying 30 per cent of total personal income tax collected in Australia.

This was projected to grow to 580,000 taxpayers in 2018-19, representing 34 per cent of total personal income tax collected.

In the May budget Scott Morrison, when he was still treasurer, announced that a Coalition government would return Australia to four tax brackets for the first time since 1984
In the May budget Scott Morrison, when he was still treasurer, announced that a Coalition government would return Australia to four tax brackets for the first time since 1984

Mr Frydenberg, who is also deputy Liberal leader, seized on a 2005 speech Mr Shorten made when he was leader of the Australian Workers Union calling for the top marginal tax rate to be slashed from 47 per cent to 30 per cent.

'Not that long ago an ambitious Bill Shorten championed a top marginal tax rate of 30 per cent but now in a complete backflip he is promising to increase the top rate to 49 per cent to pay for reckless spending promises,' he said in a statement.

Under Labor, Australia's highest-income earners would pay a 49.5 per cent marginal tax rate.

This would include a 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare levy to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, for those earning more than $87,000 a year, and a permanent two per cent 'budget repair levy'.


Coalition slams Labor job welfare reform plan

The Coalition has slammed a proposal by Bill Shorten’s opposition to reform mutual obligations in the welfare system, accusing Labor of wanting to “junk” the principle and increase spending on benefits.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher seized on a report in The  Australian today saying Labor wants to “consign many more Australians to a life of welfare dependency.” “Labor’s plan means welfare payments would balloon again and they’d be paid for by higher taxes on those working,” he said.

Mr Fletcher addressed the media in Sydney shortly after lunchtime today as former prime minister Tony Abbott tweeted that applying for “one job a day is hardly unreasonable.”

“People on unemployment benefits are supposed to be looking for work,” he said.

“These proposed changes show Labor is now the welfare class party not the working class one.”

Labor has revealed a blueprint for a “revamped version of mutual obligation” that does not punish jobseekers, ditches the need for unemployed people to apply for 20 jobs a month and ­re­designs Work for the Dole.

The opposition’s employment services spokeswoman Terri Butler told The Australian the current system annoys businesses, does little to help unemployed people find work and often stands in the way.

Business has backed the thrust of Ms Butler’s proposed ­reforms, which means major changes to the system are likely if Bill Shorten becomes prime minister after the May election.

“The way they (unemployed people) are being treated is a product of the business model, which is a product of the government’s mutual obligations,” Ms Butler said. “Change the obli­gations and you change the way people are treated.”

The $7 billion Jobactive system — a network of private and non-government employment service providers — is ostensibly funded to help working-age people in ­receipt of welfare payments find work, but Ms Butler says it has ­become mired in “box-ticking”.

The Business Council of Australia agrees, saying employers bear the cost of “sorting through unsuitable applications” submitted for the purpose of meeting job-search requirements. “Job-search requirements of 20 applications a month can impose unnecessary costs on jobseekers and employers, where applicants are not suitable for vacant positions,” the council says in a submission to the federal government’s review of employment services.

Council of Small Business of Australia chief executive Peter Strong told The Australian some businesses won’t hire people ­referred from employment service providers because it is an ­“absolute waste of time”.

“We are creating millionaires on the back of the long-term unemployed by paying providers to offer a failed service,” he said. “The people that win are the service providers, not the unemployed or the employers. It beggars belief that we have this very textbook-driven view of how these things should happen when that is wrong and it is proven to be wrong. The whole system needs to be turned on its head.”

The Australian understands Ms Butler would free up money within the existing allocation for Jobactive by pushing the requirement of providers to report to Centrelink fortnightly or monthly to just four times a year, and swap the “prescriptive” obligation for jobseekers to apply for 20 jobs a month for a “qualitative” one that would change person to person.

“A better employment services framework would see less onerous compliance obligations ­imposed on providers and their unemployed clients, performance indicators related to building relationships within local labour markets, industries and communities, and funding arrangements that reward better employment outcomes,” Ms Butler writes in today’s newspaper.

“A revamped version of mutual obligation would serve the ­purpose of making people ­employable and work-ready. “A better system would see employment services providers refocused on delivering labour market programs that help people get work, not punishing people for being unemployed.”

Minister for Jobs Kelly O’Dwyer released a review of ­employment services last month that also recommends moving away from a “punitive” system and revealed a startling finding: in 2007, almost one-in-five employers said they used the system. Last year, only 4 per cent did.

Ms O’Dwyer has defended the system more broadly. “People do … have a requirement, particularly if they’re being given government support … they do have an obligation themselves to actively, proactively seek employment,” she told Radio 5AA in late October.

She also expanded a trial of web-based service tools that would “test the effectiveness of online monitoring of mutual obligation requirements and compliance system” but remains committed to programs within ­Jobactive such as ParentsNext, which has cut welfare payments off when participants fail to turn up for interviews or meetings, even if by accident.

Ms O’Dwyer concedes there are some problems with Jobactive, however, and has said there are “still too many” people — one in five — who have been in the ­system for more than five years.

Mutual obligation has been the cornerstone of the welfare system since Bob Hawke’s reforms when he was prime minister and share bipartisan support, and Ms Butler is clear that she is not scrapping the concept. The proposals will open Labor up to attack from the Coalition ahead of the federal election, however, for being “soft” on welfare.

Ms Butler’s predecessor in the shadow role, Ed Husic, has previously flagged changes to Work for the Dole, which costs $65 million a year, and in November Ms Butler said the business case for this is “less than clear”.

A 2016 review of the program found it increased the chances of a participant finding work by just 2 per cent. Labor is considering whether Work for the Dole can be turned into a “genuine” work ­experience program.

Ms Butler cited a report in The Australian last month that revealed Jobactive providers were claiming multiple bonuses for placing the same person into­ ­multiple, short-term jobs.

Data released to the Senate under estimates questioning reveals almost 100,000 of these jobseekers had between three and six job placements in three years, and a further 4765 had seven or more placements. Almost 400 people have started and left 10 or more jobs in that three-year window.

The same providers are also rewarded with “outcome” bonuses for referring clients to Work for the Dole, effectively forcing the taxpayer to pay twice for a service that doesn’t necessarily work.

John Howard privatised the old Commonwealth Employment Service and although re­nationalisation is not part of Labor’s plan for reform, it is understood the opposition is considering an expanded role for the public service in delivery of parts of the system while leaving the intensive work for people who need it the most to outsourced providers. “People delivering our labour market programs … need to be freed up to build … connections in the local community so they can become ­experts on the local ­labour market,” Ms Butler says.

“If they’re spending all their time reporting to Centrelink about whether everyone on their books has sent out 20 job appli­cations that month, the opportunity cost is that the time could have been spent with the local chamber of commerce, or the leaders of local industry.”


Hoarder house burns down

Whether the fire was deliberately lit or not, hoarder houses are always a fire and vermin hazard -- so councils have powers to clean them up.  That the council in this instance did nothing makes them partly responsible for the fire.  It also explains why someone might have taken vigilante action

A contentious western suburbs home that has been the subject of several complaints to the local council has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A blaze broke out at the Yorkshire St, Grange house just before 2am and it took 30 MFS firefighters about an hour to extinguish the inferno. However, the house could not be saved, with the fire causing part of the roof to collapse, leaving a damage bill of about $350,000.

The occupant of the home managed to escape without injury.

Police believe the fire was deliberately lit and are investigating.

MFS fire commander Rainer Kiessling said authorities had trouble battling the blaze because of the state of the property. “On arrival we were faced with a property with a very heavy fire load due to a lot of clutter and hoarding on the premises,” he said.  “The initial attack crews had issues with access to the house.”

Mr Kiessling urged people with cluttered properties to take heed.  “The fire service stresses that if you have a lot of clutter or hoarding around your house, or you’re a collector, that at the very least you have working smoke alarms; that you have a clear path of egress to get out of the house, or alternatively to let firefighters get into the house,” he said.

Neighbour Roger Williams said he was not surprised the house went up in flames, describing the property as “worse than Wingfield dump”. “It was a big fire hazard with the junk and stuff that was stored there at the front and the back (and) the back was all overgrown,” he said.

“People here in Yorkshire St and on my (street) have been onto the council for years to get someone done to the property but nothing was ever done. “They should have stepped in earlier.”


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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