Gonski 2.0 standoff continues as states and territories unite against the Federal Government’s ref
Summary: A standoff over school funding is no closer to resolution after the states and territories declared they were “united” against the Federal Government’s so-called Gonski 2.0 reforms.....
But their opposition will not stop the legislation going through Federal Parliament unless they can figure out a way to stop it. They were told on Thursday their best option was to write a submission.
State Education Minister Susan Close said the Federal Government’s offer – which includes more than $18 billion over a decade but falls short of what the former Labor government promised – was “simply not good enough”.
There was lack of detail about what was expected from the states, she said. “We’re just going to keep up the fight.”
The Education Council meeting between state and federal ministers was “annoying and troubling”, she said, but federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham insisted the talks were “constructive”.
The Government was “absolutely determined” to get the legislation through, he said. After that, the states will have to sign up to the new deal or be left on the old one, without the promised increases.
Senator Birmingham said he would be “astounded” if the states didn’t get on board.
“States and territories can publicly posture about something Julia Gillard promised in 2013, but what Malcolm Turnbull and I are doing – and the reason David Gonski stood alongside us a little over two weeks ago – is we are truly delivering on the needs-based principles of the Gonski review,” he said.
“If the legislation goes through, we will have a clear, nationally consistent framework.”
He also warned the states would have to do their part.
“There are lots of questions, it seems, from the states about how it is they would be measured in terms of their funding contribution,” he said.
“We are determined to make sure that as we tip in increasing, growing, record levels of funding, the states and territories don’t cut back or cost shift, and that we get a guarantee built into the legislation that ensures they also maintain their real contribution so that the additional Turnbull Government dollars for Australian schools provide real extra money.”
Before the Budget, the Federal Government stood with education reform architect David Gonski and announced a new deal. Under that deal almost every school will receive more money, but the growth in funding for some schools will be slower than they expected.
The council said it would continue discussions.