Statement on COAG: Turnbull's failure of leadership on schools

1 April 2016

Today’s COAG meeting has demonstrated the total failure of leadership by Malcolm Turnbull on properly funding our schools.

It is clear that there is no appetite among State Governments for Mr Turnbull’s bizarre and disastrous proposal for the federal government to stop funding public schools and hand over full responsibility to the States.

Mr Turnbull must now focus on working directly with the States to deliver the full six years of Gonski funding that our schools need.

We have seen yet another COAG meeting where schools funding beyond 2017 has not been resolved and the concerns of States have not been addressed.

Mr Turnbull has no plan for funding schools properly or improving our school system, only a plan for ending federal funding of public schools. We still have no details of what schools funding might look like beyond 2017.

While Education Minister Simon Birmingham has been talking about making States more accountable for how they spend education funding, Mr Turnbull has gone the other way wanting to remove accountability.

There is clearly huge confusion within the Coalition on what their schools funding policy is – and the losers will be disadvantaged schools and their students.

We know that Gonski funding is making a difference in schools, but we need the funding which is to flow in the last two years of the agreements to lift all schools to the minimum resource standard. This is crucial for making sure all students can a quality education regardless of their background or where they go to school.

We need Mr Turnbull to fund the full six years of Gonski reforms which fund all schools on the basis of need, not whether they are public or private. He needs to match Labor’s commitment to invest an extra $4.5 billion in schools in 2018 and 2019.