The Abbott Government’s response to a Senate Inquiry recommending it implement the full six years of Gonski funding has confirmed it will break its election promise and do nothing about the damaging shortfall in funding for students with disability.
AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the response revealed that a much-needed increase to the disability loading received by schools which educated students with disability would be years away, despite a pre-election promise to increase it from 2015.
“The shortage of funding for students with disability is a crisis which is seeing at least 100,000 students with disability not getting the funding they need,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“Every year that this continues is another year that thousands of students with disability miss out on the support they need to reach their potential.
“In opposition the Abbott Government promised to address this by bringing in a new, increased ‘disability loading’ which recognised the extra cost of properly educating students with disabilities.
On August 23rd, 2013, it announced that: “If elected to Government the Coalition will continue the data collection work that has commenced, which will be used to deliver more funding for people with disability through the ‘disability loading’ in 2015.”
“They failed to deliver on this promise by failing to provide any extra funding for a 2015 disability loading in this year’s Budget and the response to the Senate Inquiry now reveals that any loading is years away,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“The response says they will wait until there is nationally consistent data on students with disability, which will not happen until the end of 2015 at the earliest, to even consider a loading.
“They are not even able to give a date for when this vital support for students with disabilities will be delivered to schools.
“Using these delays as an excuse to fund an area where it is universally agreed there is urgent need is to abandon thousands of students with disability.
“In the response to the Senate Inquiry the Abbott Government even congratulates itself for maintaining funding for the More Support for Students with Disabilities National Partnerships, even though it will not fund this program from January 1, 2015, cutting a further $100 million a year of funding for students with disabilities.
“There is no commitment to supporting students with disabilities, or the public schools which educate the majority of them.
An affiliate of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Education International (EI)
“They are being left behind by a Government that has no commitment to needs-based funding, or to making school systems accountable for how they spend Gonski funding.
“There needs to be a long term commitment to needs-based Gonski funding and the full six years of Gonski agreements needed to ensure every school has the resources to educate every student to a high level.”
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