Birmingham must abandon plans to scrap Gonski, cut funding to States

23 September 2016

Education Minister Simon Birmingham must abandon plans to scrap Gonski funding, the AEU said today.

Minister Birmingham will meet with State and Territory ministers in Adelaide today to begin negotiating schools funding beyond 2017, with the States already having come out against plans to cut Gonski and redistribute funding between States.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that the Coalition’s alternative funding plan would abandon needs-based funding and cost schools $3.9 billion in 2018 and 2019 alone by failing to fund Gonski in full.

“Ending Gonski will take money from the most disadvantaged schools, which are already using it to lift results for their students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“It would mean many schools would never get the resources they need for their students.

“State and Territory Education Ministers have already expressed opposition to the Coalition’s plan to shift funding between States, and move to a one-size-fits-all model which does not recognise need.

“The NSW Education Department has calculated its schools will lose $400 million, with the biggest cuts going to public schools.

“Tasmania, the NT, Queensland and Victoria are also likely to have funding cut under the proposed ‘fairer, simpler’ model, in addition to the Gonski funding they will no longer get after 2017.

“They are supporting Gonski because they can see the evidence that it is working in their schools.

“Pitting one state against another will do nothing to lift results in schools – what is needed is to lift our overall investment in schools and target the extra funds to addressing disadvantage.

“It is a distraction from the Coalition’s plan to stop extra resources going to disadvantaged schools after 2017.

“Who is supporting Minister Birmingham’s funding model?” Ms Haythorpe said.

“There has been no consultation with States, no input from experts and no detail around Minister Birmingham’s plan. Compare that with the Gonski agreements which were the result of widespread consultation and the most thorough review of schools funding arrangements in a generation.”

”It will abandon needs-based funding and see 62 per cent of increased federal funding increases distributed to private schools, whose needs are far less than public systems.

“The full six years of Gonski would see 80 per cent of extra funding directed to public schools.

“No State has yet reached the minimum resourcing standards for schools that were outlined in the Gonski report. Without the final two years of Gonski, no State will be able to fully fund its schools on the basis of student need.

States and Territories need to stand firm against plans to scrap Gonski, and Minister

Birmingham needs to admit that his plan has no support.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291