States oppose Malcolm Turnbull's Gonski cuts because they will hurt disadvantaged students

7 April 2017

The Turnbull Government’s attempts to scrap Gonski funding have been completely rejected at a farcical Education Council meeting in Hobart today.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes has revealed the damage that Malcolm Turnbull’s Gonski cuts will do, and said that their greatest impact will be on disadvantaged students.

Minister Stokes today presented a new analysis which showed that NSW faced losing $1.3 billion in 2018 and 2019 if Gonski funding was not extended past this year.

He said this worked out to an average of $1400 less in federal government support for every NSW public school student and $500 for every private school student.

He said the Turnbull Government needed to honour the full six years of the Gonski agreements.

"We have a bi-lateral agreement and have met our obligations and we will be insisting the Commonwealth does likewise".

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that Malcolm Turnbull needed to listen to the states, and honour the full six years of the Gonski agreements, which would deliver an extra $3.8 billion in resources to schools.

“Education Minister Simon Birmingham today not only failed to present an alternative funding proposal, he has failed to convince a single state to back attempts to end needs-based Gonski funding after 2017.

“He will now fly out to India leaving schools funding unresolved, and with not a single school in Australia knowing how much funding it will receive in 2018.

Malcolm Turnbull continues to ignore the evidence that Gonski is working to lift results. He has no plan to lift results, just a plan for cuts that will hit hardest the children who need help the most.

“Thousands of students are getting the help they need to succeed at school, through extra literacy and numeracy programs, smaller classes and more one-to-one support.

“But only one-third of the extra funding in the Gonski agreements has been delivered, and we need funding to continue in 2018 and 2019 so all schools have the resources they need.

Ms Haythorpe said that the Turnbull Government had repeatedly failed to meet its own deadlines to develop a concrete funding proposal in the 11 months since it announced it wanted to end Gonski.

“We have had months of excuses, and there is still no detail, and no alternative proposal on the table.

“The Federal Government is now attempting to have this issue fixed at yet another Education Ministers meeting in June, just weeks before the COAG meeting where Malcolm Turnbull has said he wants a funding agreement to be finalised.

“This is a chaotic, last-minute attempt to justify the Turnbull Government’s attempts to end needs-based funding.”

“Both Labor and Coalition state governments have today called on Malcolm Turnbull to fund Gonski in full.

“They understand Gonski funding is working and know we need Gonski to be funded in full so every school gets the resources it needs.

Acting Victorian Education Minister Jenny Mikakos said:

“Victorian schools, students and parents still have no idea if the homework clubs, extra teachers and reading and maths programs will continue because Malcolm Turnbull refuses to put a funding offer on the table.”

“For Victoria, Malcolm Turnbull walking away from the Gonski funding agreement represent $1 billion lost to our Victorian students, mainly from our most needy and disadvantaged students. This funding is absolutely critical to lifting student outcomes.”

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones said:

“We know that by investing in education we are investing in our country’s future. We will not stand silently and allow Malcolm Turnbull to walk away from schools funding in this country. It is not good enough that schools still have no clarity about funding into the future.”

ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said:

“The ACT signed up to agreements for six years, with reforms to support the schools and students that are the most disadvantaged. We’ve implemented the reforms, we now need a clear commitment from the Federal Government. The only way they can do that is to live up to their side of the agreement.”

“State and territory education ministers are united in opposition to cuts to Gonski,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Malcolm Turnbull is ignoring advice from state governments, principals, parents and teachers that Gonski needs-based funding is working, and trying to push ahead with his own flawed system which would end needs-based funding.

“He needs to admit his plans have failed, and give our schools the funding they need.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291