6 April 2014 New analysis reported today shows funding for Victorian public schools sliding backwards in the year before federal and state governments signed the Gonski agreement.
Because of state cuts, funding per student went backwards in Victorian public schools during 2012, a clear indication that the previous school funding system was broken. "The Gonski agreement put an end to state cuts and set a six year course to make sure every student in every school benefits from a standard national level of resourcing," Shadow Education Minister, Kate Ellis, said. "This is absolute proof that growing inequality in education needs to be turned around. All Australian children deserve to get a great education, no matter where they go to school". The Victorian Premier and the Prime Minister last year signed the six year Gonski school funding agreement to put an end to declining and unstable school funding. "Despite promising to honour the Gonski agreements before the election, Tony Abbott has been systematically undermining them," Kate Ellis said. "Tony Abbott has changed the rules and offered 'no strings' funding deals to the states, opening the door to big Western Australian style cuts right across the country". A Senate inquiry heard evidence this week that the Abbott Government has failed to classify Victoria and Tasmania as 'participating' in the Gosnki school funding reforms. "The Abbott Government is busy creating legal loopholes to get out of the signed six year Gonski school funding agreements," Kate Ellis said. "It's sneaky and tricky and will hurt those students and schools who need help most". Liberal premiers in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have all declared their support for the six year Gonski reforms. But in the face of these attacks on school funding, previously vocal Liberal premiers have gone silent. "It's time Denis Napthine kept his promise to deliver the full six year Gonski reforms by standing up to Tony Abbott and calling him out on this trickery," Kate Ellis said. "The budget is just five weeks away and Liberal premiers should be demanding Tony Abbott fund $7 billion for the fifth and sixth years of the Gonski reforms." The only way the Gonski school funding agreements can be broken is if states don't hold the Abbott Government to account. "Liberal premiers either need to step up the pressure on Tony Abbott, or admit they are going to follow his lead and allow the Gonski agreements to be trashed," Kate Ellis said.