President's comment | 21 October 2014

The truth is out there…you just need to know where to look

The Queensland Education Minister recently wrote to school Parents and Citizens Associations, accusing the QTU of telling lies about school funding and the negative impacts of the 2014-15 federal budget. In his media release, the Minister says:

“Recently, you may have received a letter from the Queensland Teachers’ Union suggesting that Queensland schools are worse off as a result of the Abbott Government’s approach to school funding. I can assure you that this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

An ABC news radio story from Monday 20 October 2014 highlights the state government’s own analysis of the federal budget, obtained under Right to Information legislation and posted to the DETE website here. The long and short of it is the real truth known by the Minister: Queensland schools will miss out on $6 billion in funding under the 2014-15 budget projections for funding over the next 10 years. $3.7 billion will be lost from government schools in Queensland.

The Minister knows this because his own department provided him with a briefing on 21 May of this year. That briefing provides the following advice to the Minister about the impact of the 2014-15 federal budget.

  1. There will be a decrease in school funding of $30 billion nationally over the period 2014-15 to 2024-25, compared to the former Australian Government arrangements
  2. There will be $6 billion less available to Queensland schools under the new arrangements than was the case under the prior offer
  3. Queensland government schools will receive $3.7 billion less federal funding under the new offer than under the prior offer.

To add insult to injury, the government has consistently claimed that Queensland was to receive no money under the previous arrangements, as a consequence of the LNP government’s failure to sign up to the former federal government’s Gonski model (National Education Reform Agreement). In fact the briefing provided to the Minister makes it clear that the state would have enjoyed indexation of 3 per cent of funding above enrolment growth, even without signing up to Gonski. On the state government’s own projections, Queensland will miss out on $283 million dollars in 2017-18 to 2018-19 alone.

The Minister needs to set the record straight and reveal the full extent of the loss of funding to Queensland schools that is brought about by the combined actions of the LNP state and federal governments.

Kevin Bates