22 March 2014

The Abbott Government's refusal to release school funding agreements is a blatant attempt to hide its broken promises and mask the policy chaos that is gripping school funding. 

The Senate demanded the production of documents about the current state of school funding arrangements, including the no strings deals the Abbott Government claims to have put in place with Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Yesterday, the Government refused to provide any information at all.

"Tony Abbott is trying to keep his broken promises secret," Kate Ellis, Shadow Education Minister said.

"This is about hiding the fall-out from the Government's panicked response to the school funding crisis created by Christopher Pyne last year".

Four months after Christopher Pyne claimed to have secured a national agreement on school funding, the Government cannot produce any evidence of its existence.

"This is an extraordinary lack of transparency regarding billions of dollars. We need to be sure this money is actually reaching the classroom" Kate Ellis said.

The Abbott Government's no strings funding deals do not require states and territories to honour co-contributions, indexation or even the nationally consistent Student Resource Standard.

"Labors Gonski Plan put an end to state cuts, but Tony Abbott wants them back," Kate Ellis said.

In Western Australia, the Barnett Government has cut $183 million in school funding this year alone, more than the total additional funding provided by the federal government over the next four.

"Tony Abbott will not repeat his election promise that 'no school will be worse off'," Kate Ellis said.

"Under Labor's Gonski Plan the cuts we have seen to schools in Western Australia and the Northern Territory could not have taken place".

Tony Abbott is also refusing to fund the $7 billion federal contribution to years five and six of the Gonski reforms in this year's budget, which is just seven weeks away.

"Every student in every school is worse off and Tony Abbott is trying to hide the facts," Kate Ellis said.