23 November 2016    No. 30-16

Palaszczuk government gives a Gonski

The Queensland Government has given its strong support for the aims of the 2011 Gonski review report to direct funding to schools and students that need it most, and to secure better funding for Queensland schools in negotiations with the federal government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to the QTU yesterday reiterating her government’s commitment. Noting that the federal Abbott government’s withdrawal from Gonski commitments to Queensland schools would receive over $1 billon less between 2018 – 2022, the Premier said,

“Your members have my promise that the Queensland Government will continue to seek a better funding outcome from the Federal Government that is fair, transparent, flexible and sustainable for all Queensland schools, so that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

The Premiers letter follows a response by Education Minister Kate Jones to a question in parliament on 10 November. The Minister, in the absence of any clarity on funding from Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, said she would “fight to get Queensland’s fair share of funding to deliver for every student no matter where they live in this vast state.” The next meeting of the Education Council the meeting of Federal, State and Territory Education Ministers is scheduled for 16 December.

These are welcome re-statements of the Palaszczuk government’s commitment in the lead-up to funding negotiations.

Background

The campaign for the full Gonski continues. On-going federal funding arrangements will be decided at a series of Australian governments meetings at the end of this year and early next year.

Queensland schools know Gonski funding as I4S (Investing for Success) which provides $240 million this year in Queensland schools.

The Gonski report was delivered to the federal government in November 2011. It proposed a school resource funding standard, and loading (additional funding) for six measures of educational disadvantage. In 2013, the then Gillard government provided funding for a six year phase-in of additional funding to meet the resource standard and provide for disadvantage.

In the 2013 election, the Abbott federal opposition claimed to be on a “unity ticket” with the ALP on school funding. Immediately, after the election, the elected Abbott government broke that promise but was eventually forced to continue the first four years of the funding phase-in. That means over $1 billion less for Queensland schools than initially promised over the next four years.

Since then, the Turnbull government has been seeking to further cut funding by reducing indexation. This requires legislation, however, which is blocked in the Senate by Labor, the Greens, Jacqui Lambie and the Nick Xenophon Team


 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union