New independent research has confirmed South Australian students will be left behind as a result of the Abbott Government’s broken promise on the Gonski reforms, and the decade of school cuts announced in this year’s Federal Budget.

The report, released by the Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, found Tony Abbott’s failure to honour years five and six of the Gonski agreements will leave South Australian schools $335 million worse off.

In addition, the Government’s decision to link school funding to CPI from 2018 will mean funding cuts to South Australian schools will total $2.18 billion over the next decade*.

The University of Adelaide has found these cuts will translate into poorer student results:

At a state level this is expected to lead to inferior schooling outcomes than would have otherwise been the case had investment in education by the Australian Government followed the funding trajectory that was determined by the Gonski process.

“By cutting the vital fifth and sixth years of Gonski funding, Tony Abbott has pulled the rug out from under the needs-based funding system before it will even have the chance to be implemented,” Kate Ellis, Shadow Education Minister, said.

“On top of this, the Abbott Government has announced the biggest ever cuts to our schools over the next decade.

“With the Budget predicting CPI will be just 2.5 per cent, and the ABS Education Price Index currently 5.1 per cent, the Government’s school funding policy guarantees significant cuts in every single classroom.”

The Report also found that the impact of the cuts will be greatest on disadvantaged students, and that all school sectors – Government, Catholic and Independent – are concerned about the consequences abandoning the Gonski needs-based funding model.

The study identified that South Australia will be hit disproportionately hard by the Abbott Government’s broken promise to honour the full six year Gonski needs-based funding agreements:

This is a particular problem for South Australia which has a higher-than-national-average proportion of disadvantaged and vulnerable students.

“These cuts will hit hard, they will hit every classroom, and they will take the most from those who can least afford it,” Kate Ellis said.

“This is a rallying call for South Australians. We need to keep fighting Tony Abbott’s school cuts if we want to see a fair and prosperous future for our state.”

Note: The Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre at the University of Adelaide report is available at:


*Based on the $30 billion cuts to schools to 2024, confirmed in Senate Estimates. Calculations assume an average cut for all students nationally, and are based on based on 2012 enrolment data from the ABS.