ScoMo fights to save school funding deal
SCOTT Morrison is fighting to save his $4.4 billion funding deal for private schools one day after it was announced, after two states demanded equal treatment for public schools.
The Prime Minister has been in contact with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this morning after the state's education minister Rob Stokes declared last night he "won't be signing any deal that doesn't treat every student and every school with fairness".
"I've had exchanges this morning with the premier, we've had a few text exchanges this morning, I don't think Rob has the full details and a full understanding of what the package is," Mr Morrison told ABC radio.
"I think the education minister in NSW, once he has the opportunity to look at the full understanding of the package, he'll understand that it's good for all schools to be getting more support.
"This is a needs-based approach when it comes particularly to those in Catholic schools and ensuring that the parents' actual income is what is driving funding decisions."
Queensland's Education Minister Grace Grace has also said she will be demanding equal funding for public schools.
Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said today the government had "turned its back on children in public schools".
"It's completely unacceptable to fund two sectors but not the third sector," she told ABC radio.
Ms Plibersek also repeated Labor's claim that the government had cut $17 billion from school funding over the decade.,
Schools will receive $23.5 billion extra over the next decade under the Coalition's Gonski funding commitment last year but Labor argues it is less than what it committed to give schools while it was last in government.
The prime minister this morning denied that his $4.6 billion funding announcement for non-government schools was a special deal, saying the key $3.2 billion component for private schools to transition to a new funding model was "simply implementing" the recommendations of the independent Chaney review.
He also said it was an "important value and belief" of the Liberal and a National parties to ensure parents had affordable choices for non-state schools.
"We're delivering on that belief I think handsomely as well," he said.
"We don't think one set of students have to do worse for another set of students to do better. And everyone here is doing better - there's more money for state schools, more money for non-state schools, more money for independent schools, more money for Catholic schools."
Under the funding deal, the government will contribute $3.2 billion over 10 years from 2020 to fund changes to the way parents' wealth is measured, based on income tax data.
In 2019, independent and Catholic schools will receive $170.8 million over the calendar year.
A $1.2 billion "Choice and Affordability Fund" over 10 years will help keep fees affordable and maintain choice.
The government has yet to detail how the $1.2 billion will be distributed beyond saying it could be used to fund special areas of need, such as to assist families with schoolchildren in drought-affected areas.
CATHOLIC WAR AGAINST GONSKI
The multi-billion funding deal comes after the Catholic sector waged a year-long campaign against Malcolm Turnbull's Gonski funding reforms, which it claimed would amount to a $1.1 billion cut to its sector schools.
The government had injected an extra $23.5 billion into schools funding, including for Catholic, independent and public schools, as part of the transition to the new needs-based Gonski funding model.
In a bid to appease the Catholic sector however amid fears the backlash would cost the Coalition votes at the next election, the government began negotiations with the sector for a new funding deal while Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister and Simon Birmingham was education minister.
The deal announced yesterday was finalised by new Education Minister Dan Tehan in his first month in the job following last month's leadership spill.
Greens' education spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi dubbed the deal "hush money" to stop the Catholic sector campaigning against the Government.
- with AAP