Nick Didn't Cut School Funding
Tanya Plibersek, Jay Weatherill and Labor claim Nick worked with the Liberals to cut school funding in 2017 in SA by more than $200 million over the next two years, and that they are fighting against the cuts.
Firstly, Labor is not fighting anything. SA Education Minister Susan Close accepted the deal last December (2017).
Secondly, Nick didn't cut anything and instead negotiated a better deal than what was originally on the table to get Gonski 2.0 over the line. In total, Nick secured an extra $4.9 billion for schools, up from the Government’s original proposal of $18.6 billion to $23.5 billion.
David Gonski himself supported the NXT’s vote to get the ‘‘Gonski 2.0’’ school funding changes through the Senate.
The so-called funding shortfall (to SA of more than $200 million over the next two years) that Mr Weatherill keeps mentioning was contingent on Federal Labor winning Government in 2013 - it didn't!
This was a Gillard Government initiative and the funding she promised - like Gillard herself - didn’t survive the 2013 election. Jay Weatherill signed a deal with the Gillard Government. All of the money for South Australia was well beyond the Forward Estimates. None of that money was ever accounted for in Budget Estimates.
Mr Weatherill's claim – made at the SA Press Club lunch on 2 February 2018 – that Nick broke a promise to the teachers’ union to keep to the original Gonski deal is wrong.
Nick indicated his support for the original proposal, but the reality was he faced the same situation as Susan Close. She refused to sign the Gonski 2.0 deal in November 2016 and changed her mind a few days later. Susan Close and Labor finally had to accept that the deal Mr Weatherill did with Ms Gillard was not binding on the current Federal Government.
The documents, available from the link below, contain the following quotes:
David Gonski AC (chair): “I'm very pleased to hear that the Turnbull Government has accepted the fundamental recommendations of our 2011 report, and particularly regarding a needs-based situation… I'm very pleased that there is substantial additional money, even over indexation and in the foreseeable future… When we did the 2011 review, our whole concept was that there would be a school’s resource standard which would be nominated and we nominated one, and I'm very pleased that the Turnbull Government has taken that.” (Media conference, May 2, 2017).
Dr Ken Boston (panel member): ‘‘Five years after the release and subsequent emasculation of the Gonski report, Australia has a rare second chance. There are no grounds for opposition to the schools funding bill in principle, and every reason to work collaboratively towards its successful implementation and further refinement in the years ahead. It will be a tragedy if the school funding bill is voted down in the Senate.
The magnitude of what is within reach of being achieved far outweighs any other concern, including the argument that the present amount of funding is insufficient. For the first time, the available funding would be distributed on a sector-blind needs-based principle, using a common assessment tool for individual schools nationally. When Labor next forms government, its promised additional $22 billion would have far greater impact when distributed on the basis of this new funding arrangement, than by being poured into the existing arrangement that has so debilitated Australian education.’’(Interview with Sydney Morning Herald, June 13, 2017)
Kathryn Greiner (panel member): “In the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd years, as that era was dying out, there were something like 27 different funding programs that were all agreed to, state-by-state, sector by sector, which is what the Minister Birmingham is now trying to undo and create what the Gonski Report originally set out to do, which was to have transparent, accountable, understandable funding… I think we have to recognise that this is a critical time for education right across the country and it's about time that we had a proper funding formula to make sure that those children got the programs that they needed.” (Interview on Lateline June 20, 2017).
(20 June 2017) ABC1, Lateline Transcript of Emma Alberici interview with Kathryn Greiner, a panel member of the 2011 Gonski Review into Education Funding commissioned incidentally by the Gillard Labor government
(22 June 2017) NXT Media Release - REAL GONSKI WIN FOR AUSSIE SCHOOLS