Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard Inga Williams

Gillard puts pressure on Qld Govt to sign up to reforms

QUEENSLAND appears unlikely to sign up to the Gillard Government's school reforms, despite the Prime Minister visiting Brisbane today (Tue) in an effort to put more pressure on the state government.

Ms Gillard and Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan met with Petrie MP Yvette D'Ath to call on the Newman government to sign up to the reforms.

However, while Premier Campbell Newman once was in support of the reforms, it appears his government will not be signing up.

And Queensland is not alone, with only the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory governments signing up to the Commonwealth deal.

Ms Gillard has just 13 business days left to sign up every other jurisdiction in the country, and has so far met a wall of opposition.

"Here in Queensland, there have been more than 50 times that federal officials have worked with state officials to show how it will help," she said.

"There is no excuse except for the playing of politics to getting this done.

"There aren't many days left, but this is the work that our nation needs done for its future," Ms Gillard said.

There is a growing risk the urgency of the Federal Government's efforts to sign up all states and territories could backfire.

If the government fails to get all the states onboard by June 30, the current national agreement will expire, leaving the states with minimal federal funding.

Such a failure would be compounded by further funding cuts outlined in new federal laws, for those states which don't sign on.

Figures released by the Commonwealth on the potential benefits for Queensland schools revealed some schools could see a 100% increase in funding over six years.

However, the majority of state schools would see only a 19% to 40% increase in funding over six years.

Some 160 schools across the Sunshine State would only be 1.4% better off under the Gillard government's plan, than they would be under the usual 3% indexation rate.

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the figures "proved that the Prime Minister hadn't kept her promise" that the reforms would not produce any losers.

"Based on these figures, more than 160 state schools will receive less funding in 2019 than they will under the current arrangements," Mr Langbroek said.

"This is despite the Prime Minister cutting billions of dollars in kindergarten and university funding.

"Julia Gillard made a promise that no school would be worse off under Gonski and her own numbers prove that she has broken this promise."

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said he wanted to see the comparison between the Gonski increases and the existing plans.

"It is not possible for ISQ to release forward projections of funding for individual independent schools as this entirely depends upon the indexation arrangements," he said.

"Indexation arrangements for independent schools cannot be determined until the passage of the Australian Education Bill through the Senate and a decision is made by the Queensland Government as to whether it will be participating in the Gonski reforms."

However, Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said the extra funds would mean more individual attention for students and extra support for "kids who need it most".

"Right now, Queensland teachers are being asked to make impossible choices because there simply are not enough resources to go around," he said.

"The additional Gonski funds would start to turn that around, ensuring every Queensland school student is getting the support they need to achieve their best."

 

Percentage rise under Gonski, between 2013-14 and 2018-19:

  • 19.4% extra for 160 schools.
  • 20-30% extra for 164 schools.30-40% extra for 370 schools,
  • 40-50% extra for 260 schools,
  • 50-60% extra for 100 schools.
  • 60-70% extra for 41 schools.
  • 70-134% extra for 31 schools.


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