Public schools to miss out on billions thanks to Morrison’s shonky deals

14 December 2018

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s appalling bilateral school funding agreements with the states and territories mean public schools in those jurisdictions will miss out on billions of dollars in funding, resulting in less resources for public schools to invest in providing high quality educational opportunities for their students.

When combined with the Morrison government’s existing $14 billion cuts to public school funding, these bilateral agreements will have a devastating effect on public school resourcing over the next decade.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan is meeting today with state and territory counterparts at the Education Council meeting in Adelaide to discuss the bilateral funding agreements.

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that, in their rush to get funding agreements signed, Minister Tehan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had only made the public school funding situation worse.

“These shonky bilateral agreements, rushed through by Minister Tehan, treat our world-class public schools like a second-class option,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The reality is that these deals, based on Mr Morrison’s dodgy accounting, will result in every single public school losing thousands of dollars of funding,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“This is an appalling state of affairs. These bilateral agreements do not stand up to any level of scrutiny when it comes to fairness.”

“This is the Coalition government which promised to clean up school funding, to scrap the ‘special funding deal’,” Ms Haythorpe said. “Well, now we not only have several billion-dollar private school funding deals, but we also have numerous state-specific bilateral funding agreements with different Schooling Resource Standard shares, timelines and funding discounts,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe said the Morrison government should have done a better job in negotiating the bilateral funding agreements so that public school students are not disadvantaged in years to come.

“School funding is a mutual responsibility. We must have all governments lifting their share. Resources delayed to public schools are effectively resources denied to their students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The different bilateral agreements mean many states will not meet their 75 per cent Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) requirement for many years, if ever. When the Morrison government’s $14 billion cut to public school funding is taken into account, these agreements will have a devastating impact on public schools over the next decade.”

“The point of the original Gonski Review was that schools which needed additional funding and resources would get them. However the Morrison government’s bilateral deals do not deliver on that promise,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Ms Haythorpe called on the Australian Labor Party to revise the bilateral school funding agreements if it wins power at the next federal election

“A Shorten Labor government has promised to restore the $14 billion in funding that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cut from public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“However Labor will now also have a big job in sorting out these appalling bilateral funding agreements with the states. We call on Labor to stick to its funding commitments, and to commit to revising the bilateral funding agreements at the first opportunity, if it wins the next federal election.”