The Abbott Government’s refusal to discuss schools funding and the Gonski reforms at today’s COAG meeting shows they are walking away from needs-based funding of Australian schools, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the Abbott Government’s abandoning of Gonski schools funding agreements with the States should be one of the key issues on the COAG agenda.

“Schools funding was supposed to be discussed at the last COAG meeting in May, but Tony Abbott postponed it until this meeting where it has yet again dropped off the agenda and failed to be mentioned in the communique.

“Mr Abbott clearly does not want to discuss his decision to abandon Gonski agreements, and strip money from schools across Australia.

“Abandoning the last two years of the Gonski agreements will cut $2.67 billion from public schools in 2018/19 and 2019/20 - the equivalent of 20,000 fewer teachers across the system.

“This decision will hurt the students that needs-based Gonski funding was designed to benefit: students with disabilities, from low-income families, in regional areas, Indigenous students and students from non-English speaking backgrounds.

“On top of this, the Abbott Government is not making States accountable for how they spend Gonski funding, which is supposed to be tightly targeted to disadvantaged schools and students.

“In six years we will still have schools that fail to meet the Minimum Resource Standard and we will not have closed the gaps in achievement and opportunity between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

“SA Premier Jay Weatherill has spoken out this week about the damage abandoning Gonski agreements will do in SA. We need all Premiers to stand up for their schools and students and call on Tony Abbott to honour the full six years of Gonski agreements.”

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