Ms Bligh.
Ms Bligh.

Bligh: Resources cash to educate

AN nest-egg funded by the Queensland's emerging LNG industry could funnel up to $1.8 billion into educating the state's children.

It could amount to a massive $9500 for every child born after July next year to be paid out when they turn 18.

Premier Anna Bligh launched a plan to use the state's resources to fuel the education at a Brisbane school this morning.

The report, "From Mines to Minds: A proposal to establish a Queensland Education Trust" suggests creating a Queensland Education Trust worth billions of dollars, using half of all royalties from the LNG sector.

"We want to take the wealth from the earth and use it to train the minds of our children," Premier Bligh said.

"We can harness the energy of the decade of prosperity we see before us to create a golden generation that will secure Queensland's bright future for a century and more.

"The QET can be the tool we use to build a bright future that will make Queensland the best place in the world to live, raise a family and to fulfil your potential."

"In Queensland we are already on the cusp of enormous prosperity with a resources boom unlike anything we've ever seen before.

"The question now is how we use this prosperity.

The Government's proposed trust could be invested in different ways including;

Individual Trust Accounts for Education: an individual endowment that would mean every newborn child would have a nest egg valued between $7800 and $9500 when they turn 18 OR;

Dedicated Education Fund: an investment fund where the proceeds are reinvested by Government in education and training initiatives beyond the basics throughout the schooling years and potentially beyond.

The Premier said under the Trust account model every Queensland child born on or after July 1, 2012 would receive a savings endowment at birth that could be accessed at age 18.

"This would consist of an initial deposit of $500 at birth followed by a further contribution of around $3,200 in the year they enter Prep when the first royalties from the LNG industry will begin to flow," said the Premier.

"This money will be invested by the QET until the young person turns 18 when they can use the money towards education or training costs."

Modelling indicates that the golden generation's first members could receive between $7,800 and $9,500 when they turn 18.

Under the second option the QET would invest up to 50% of LNG royalties as an education 'future fund'.

"This would be used to provide extra funding over and above what is currently provided and would give Queensland children a huge advantage over children from other states."

Under this model the QET would set aside funds for specific initiatives such as;

  • TAFE and university scholarships for rural, regional and disadvantaged students
  • International exchange programs
  • Language programs

"The decisions we make today will shape the Queensland of the future in a way that has never been possible in the past," Ms Bligh said.

Comment is being sought from the Queensland Opposition.

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