NT schools miss out as public school funding drops by 4.7 per cent per student

19 October 2015

Public schools in the Northern Territory are missing out on millions of dollars in funding due to the Giles Government’s budget cuts and failure to pass on needs-based Gonski funding from the Federal Government.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe, who is visiting Darwin today, said that the Giles Government’s failures in school funding were costing NT students access to the smaller classes and support programs that students in other parts of Australia were getting.

“NT students are behind students in other states, with big gaps in achievement, yet the Giles Government is actually cutting funding from the public schools that 73 per cent of students attend,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The AEU’s analysis of the NT government’s own Budget figures shows that per student spending on public schools will drop from $20,974 to $19,981 from 2012/13 to 2015/16 -a drop of 4.7 per cent.

“Public schools are getting $29.72 million less in 2015/16 than they would have got if funding had been maintained at the 2012/13 level.

“They are getting cuts despite the Giles Government being given $272 million extra in Gonski funding over four years by the Federal Government. We need to ask where has that money gone?

“While the funding has been delivered by the Federal Government it has not imposed accountability, or any requirement for the NT to direct the money based on student need.

“This is a huge missed opportunity because the Federal Government has not committed to funding the fifth and sixth years of Gonski agreements and will only index schools funding to inflation beyond 2017. Chief Minister Giles said himself in May 2014 that the NT will lose another $312 million over the next decade as a result.

“Teachers, no matter how dedicated or skilled, can’t do their job without resources. Smaller classes, more teachers’ aides, or extra literacy and numeracy programs for kids who are struggling make teachers more effective and lift results.

“In NSW, Qld and SA, State Governments have been delivering Gonski funding direct to schools since 2014, giving them more resources, which is already lifting achievement.

“But in the NT we are told by principals that budget cuts mean they will have to lay off additional teachers and offer fewer programs for students.

“The Giles Government must reverse its cuts to schools and start delivering the promised Gonski funding to ensure that students in the NT have the same opportunities to excel as students in other states.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291