Turnbull’s funding con exposed


4 May 2017

Malcolm Turnbull’s new schools funding model is fast being exposed as a con which will leave schools short of the resources they need.

It’s a case of policy on the run and a poor substitute for the Gonski agreements, which are already lifting results in our schools, and are providing a path to lift all schools to a minimum resource standard.

The Government’s own documents admit that schools will be $22 billion worse off over ten years than they would be if Malcolm Turnbull simply honoured the Gonski agreements in full.

State governments have already confirmed that their schools will lose out.

  • Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino says Victorian schools will be $630 million worse off in 2018 and 2019 than they would be if Malcolm Turnbull honoured the Gonski agreements in full.
  • In South Australia, Premier Jay Weatherill said his state’s schools would be $266 million worse off, and Queensland’s Kate Jones said her state’s schools would lose $300 million over 10 years.
  • WA’s new Education Minister Sue Ellery has said the loss will cost WA $93 million over the next two years.
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she wants the Gonski deal her state signed to be honoured, so that students don’t miss out on resources.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said Malcolm Turnbull’s plan would still see many schools fall short of the minimum resource standard, which means they won’t be able to provide their students with all the support they need.

“There is no guarantee that any school will reach minimum resource standards, which means many students will continue to miss out,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“How can Malcolm Turnbull say the full Gonski is not affordable when he wants to spend $48 billion on company tax cuts?”

The key difference with the Gonski agreements is that under the Turnbull model only half of additional federal funding will go to public schools, compared to 80% under the Gonski agreements.

That’s a big difference, and means a lot less extra one-to-one support, a lot fewer literacy and numeracy programs, and a lot more students missing out on the support they need.

In addition, extra funding will be spread over 10 years, which means a child in Year 4 today would have finished school by the time the full funding is delivered.

AEU polling shows a clear majority of voters in the Coalition’s 20 most marginal seats prefer schools funding to company tax cuts.

The polling, taken for the AEU in late April, also found 71% of voters see Malcolm Turnbull as out-of-touch, 67% say he does not understand the needs of working families, and only a quarter were confident he would properly fund public schools.

82% of Australians believe it is important to increase government funding to public schools, yet only 26% said they were confident Malcolm Turnbull would provide enough resources to public schools.