​States reject Turnbull’s funding model again


19 May 2017

Another education ministers meeting has ended with state governments rejecting Malcolm Turnbull’s school funding model and calling on him to honour the Gonski agreements in full.

The meeting in Adelaide yesterday saw federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham again treat the states with contempt – failing to offer concrete details of his funding model or enter into negotiations with the states.

SA education minister Susan Close said that Minister Birmingham even suggested that state ministers who weren’t happy should make a submission to the Senate inquiry into the new model!

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the meeting was a farce because the federal government was intent on tearing up the signed Gonski Agreements and ending needs-based funding.

“Parents, school communities and state ministers remain united in their fight against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s agenda of education cuts that will see Australian students miss out on $3.2 billion in funding in 2018 and 2019,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Today we saw several State Education Ministers address our crowd of concerned teachers and school community members and support needs-based funding

“They understand what Turnbull’s plan means and don’t agree with slashing vital funding to our public schools.

State governments have released figures showing how much individual schools will lose if Malcolm Turnbull does not honour the full six years of the Gonski Agreements.

  • In NSW, schools will lose $1.8 billion in funding over the next four years – with some disadvantaged schools losing millions of dollars.
  • Victorian schools will lose $630 million over two years.
  • South Australian schools will lose $265 million over two years.

Even WA, which Minister Birmingham has said would benefit from his new model, says it will lose $93 million over the next two years.

What’s worse is that it will be public schools which will be hit hardest. Under the Gonski Agreements 80 per cent of extra federal funding is due to go to public schools, which recognised their greater need. Under Malcolm Turnbull’s model just over half of the extra funding will go to private schools.

That means that 84% of public schools will never reach the minimum Schooling Resource Standard the Gonski Review recommended.

“They have abandoned the key principle of the Gonski agreements: that state and federal governments work together to lift all schools to a minimum resource standard,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“You can’t lift student outcomes with a policy of education cuts – it doesn’t matter how Turnbull spins it, the numbers don’t add up.

The federal government needs to pass legislation to see its funding model implemented, and attention is turning to the Senate, which will have the final say.

Labor has already said it will block the legislation, and Ms Haythorpe said minor parties and crossbenchers needed to do the same.

“The rejection by State Ministers highlight why the Senate must reject this policy. The Greens and Nick Xenophon Team cannot support education cuts that leave kids across the country worse off.

“The Turnbull Government needs to abandon their plan of education cuts and deliver the current needs-based funding agreements in full – that’s what children across our country need and deserve.” Ms Haythorpe said.