Coalition attacks Labor $16.2bn school funding gap claim

One of the core planks in Prime Minister Julia Gillard's campaign to win support for Labor's Gonski education reforms has been called into doubt by the opposition, according to The Australian.

The Coalition has questioned Education Department budget estimates that Labor has used to claim that schools will lose $16.2 billion worth of funding over the next six years if the Coalition wins September's federal election.

The $16.2 billion figure Ms Gillard cited in a letter to premiers urging them to accept her Gonski education reforms by the end of June is based on a scenario included in the recent federal budget that predicted a three per cent rate of growth in school funding.

But the Coalition has questioned why that figure was revised from the six per cent school spending growth forecast included in both last year's federal budget and October's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook.

The revised figure inflates the funding advantage of Labor's Gonski reforms compared with the existing system if it were to be left in place by a Coalition government.

“If you endorse Mr Abbott's plan, you are endorsing a loss of $16.2 billion for Australia's schools,” Ms Gillard said during a visit to a Canberra school earlier this week.

Coalition education spokesman Christopher Pyne has written to the Education Department seeking an explanation for the revised projections, expressing the opposition's “concerns” about the education funding projections, The Australian added.

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There you go. A classic three percent, three card trick wrapped in a Gonski mirage. Please explain.
I want to hear the government explain how the Gonski money will be spent. They've already poured billions into schools for gold plated dunnies but it's done bugger-all to lift education standards.
Strange that the Coalition attacks public school funding but never seems to attack private school funding. Is that because if comes from parents. Private school fees are a burden too - I have known less financially endowed people taking on three jobs to pay for them Fees of 20 to 25 thousand dollars a year and over are absolutely outrageous, especially in an environment where some state funding and provision of infrastructure still occurs. Now some might say that this is a matter for parents who choose to give their children a quality education - fair enough. But that does rather set the actual price for properly educating any child at 25K or over per year, in the opinion of the better heeled Which makes the suggested long term funding changes the Government is making look rather reasonable in comparison. Our small local primary school has about three hundred pupils. I rather doubt it is receiving the seven and a half million a year the more prosperous would appear to consider necessary to educate them And in terms of remuneration I was astounded to find that the head of an inner city primary school in Sydney (public school) is receiving the same pay as the head gardener of one of our more famous and exclusive girls private schools.
Phil, were does the Coalition differentiate between private and public schools? Private school fees, same as house prices, are only where they are because people will pay them. What people have to do to afford them is their own personal choice. I'm not sure you can blame any government for that! As for remuneration, who sets the wages? Schools would be the same as any public/private business. You would expect a private company to have a better wage package than a public sector job. Maybe if the head of the inner city primary school in Sydney thinks it is unfair, he should have a chat with his union! Then, of course, the gardener's union would be up in arms because they believe just because you have no degrees, etc, you shouldn't be economically penalised in what job you do.... lol I understand that you don't like Abbott and the Liberals but this post just sounds like sour grapes. :o)
I can't believe the arrogance of Christopher Pyne suggesting that the Premier of NSW is an idiot for signing up to this reform? What exactly is the opposition's position on this? They say they will only proceed with it if all states sign up, while at the same time going to great lengths to stop the states from signing up? Are they trying to sabotage education reform? Tony Abbott needs to stop being so negative and communicate a clear position on this issue. Does he support these reforms? If so, what will he do differently to the government? This is a debate Australia needs to have, even if the coalition don't want it...
What debate Tim - how can you debate the unknown - when Labor explains how the costs will be directed then there is something to debate, until that time your comment is moot.
The debate is about education reform. We now have a detailed report that outlines this reform (it is not just a document that has a price enclosed). The government want to implement this reform. The coalition, apparently doesn't want it and are trying to prevent it, but if all states sign on they will back it??? Does this sound ludicrous to anyone else? How about we debate education reform? We are by no means leading the rest of the world in the way we teach our kids. We need to do better.
The debate should be "what is this Gonski reform all about", not who pays what for private school education vs public school education. Obviously the wealthy pay more in tax. We are also told that private receives less from the public purse than the public system does. And, then if as Phil says parents are paying 20-25 thousand for private school education then private must have more wealth than public where nothing or very little is (or able to be paid) by parents. Additionally, the Federal government does not own any public scbools, the State government owns all the schools. So, I go back to the beginning of this comment. "What is Gonski?". We haven't got the 16.2 billion in the public purse's pocket that Labor is talking about, and if we did, would money solve the problem? Seems to me that education of our kids is the most important task that any government can undertake, and it very dear to all of our hearts. So, is "Gonski" a political ploy or does it really have any merit? We need to know the basics of the reforms and until we do, it is just a class warfare argument that won't improve education just make the populace more and more unhappy about the have's and have not's.
Gillard is clutching at straws. Her education "reforms" were going to be Labor's saviour. Problem is Abbott has always been one step in front. Phil, the reason the coalition is attacking public schools (Gonski educations reforms) and not private schools is because private schools are just that PRIVATE. As you said they charge outrageous fees to operate. This article is about Gillard, including ordinary budgetary increases in education to ramp up the content of her letters to state premiers, by using funding figures completely unrelated to Gonski reform spending. This actually makes these letters a lie, if her accusations are saying under a Coalition government you will not receive this money. NSW Coalition government also has to contend with a hostile upper house. And like most states that suffered under Labor, they also are short of cash. Unfortunately they have to deal with the upper house as well as what's best for the state. It's not always the same. And Tim, the oppositions position on the Gonski report, I thought was very clear. They believe it is a waste of money, but if all the states feel the need for it, than ok, they won't stop it. But as of now only NSW has signed up and the Coalition has asked the other states not to sign the dotted line because they believe money is not the answer. I tend to agree, I think education has gone off track and needs to refocus on the basic fundamentals of education instead of this emphasis on social networking. The problem is kids today are lacking in spelling, maths and simple English. Should Pyne have called the premier of NSW an idiot, maybe he shouldn't have. Did the Premier jump the gun, maybe he did. Doesn't make him an idiot, but could make him look silly at the end of the day. The fact is Tim, Abbott can't be any clearer, it's Gillard that has to come clean. Where and how did she arrive at $16.2 billion, when the Gonski report only recommends $5 billion, and think Gillard proposed $8 billion.
I disagree. If you believe that there is a problem with our education system Colin, please explain what the coalition will do about it? At this point they're not backing Gonski, so what is their alternative? It is certainly not clear? Do they even think there is a problem? I would also disagree that the problems we have can be rectified by refocussing. Who would co-ordinate such a task? What would it involve and how much would that cost?
For a start Tim, the Coalition is not going to throw money at the problem. Further more there is still 5 months until the election with electioneering commencing at least 1 month prior. We are told that education, which is Gillard's pet project, will be at the forefront of this election. I am sure the Coalition will have an education policy, than it will be clear, even for you Tim. And yes there is a problem and it can be rectified by refocusing the curriculum Returning the 3R's to the forefront and giving social issues a back seat. Teach our kids how to spell, do maths and English so they can compete in the real world. As for who will coordinate the process, respective state education departments, that's their job Tim. They have been doing it for as long as I can remember, and that a long time. As for the cost, well it's already there.
You see, this is where the debate turns into a complete farse. First you say "The fact is Tim, Abbott can't be any clearer, it's Gillard that has to come clean" and then you go on to say "I am sure the Coalition will have an education policy, than it will be clear, even for you Tim." So what you're saying Colin, is that the coalition can't be any clearer, they don't have an education policy. And this is apparently a fact? It's these bewildering contradictions and destroys any meaningful debate on a very important subject. You are merely towing the party line Colin, and comments like yours is like a virus in our society. If we really think we deserve better, then we need to start putting the politics aside, otherwse we should prepare ourselves for election campaign after election campaign of mindless, juvenile crap.
Tim it is a farce because you are making it one. Abbott has made it clear that he will not introduce the Gonski reforms. You can't get much clearer than that. The debut, if you are capable of reading this article Tim, is about how Gillard can write to premiers saying that a vote for the Coalition and not signing the Gonski reform agreement, will mean you will loose $16 billion plus in education funding, when her own policy has the reforms costed at $8 billion. Is she lying or not, if not tell everyone where the rest of the money is? You can't Tim because you don't know so you prattle on about nothing trying to make us believe you are intelligent. I again point out that Abbott has not released all his policies as he is not the government, he has said as much.And until October will not be considered officially the alternate PM. At that time I am sure he will release an education policy. If you want to go on deluding yourself that he has no policies, go right ahead. By the way I am not a member of any political party, so don't have to toe a party line. I am also not the only one who thinks the money allocated for these Gonski reforms are a waste of money. I told you what to do and how it can be done. If you don't want to read or listen to alternatives, that your problem. You Tim epitomise the socialist left, it's either your way, or the highway. We will see how Labor put aside politics and agree with everything Abbott says when they are in opposition. Or does that only apply to the Coalition.
No Colin, I don't believe it's my way or the highway. But unlike you, I'm not prepared to back a political party that criticises a policy without having an alternative. This is an absolute discrace, and you should be ashamed that you are defending this sort of behavior. Unfotunately, I don't hear too many education departments backing your idea of how to fix the system. They are however backing the Gonski reforms, including the NSW liberal party. This says to me, that although you're having a go, you don't know what you're talking about. You think I epitomise the socialists left? How about a political party that not only does not have their own policy, but they try to prevent it being signed on to by state governments, and then criticise a liberal premier for doing so. Sounds like communism to me.
Once upon a time a fairy godmother became concerned that children in the kingdom were starting to lose faith in her and her fellow fairy godmothers. The children had seen the fairy godmother say one thing and do another too many times. They had become tired of hearing about all the wonderful things the fairy godmothers were doing to make the kingdom a better place when everyone was complaining about how hard their lives had become and how everything was so expensive. Then they realised that everything was becoming more expensive because the fairy godmothers had wasted so much of the people's money. But the fairy godmothers knew that if the people thought they were getting something for nothing they would be more inclined to want them to be their fairy godmothers. So the fairy godmother promised to do more wonderful things for them. As if by magic no-one asked why the fairy godmother hadn't done these wonderful things before instead of wasting the people's money. They didn't want to listen when people said that the fairy godmother didn't have any money left to do these wonderful things but would be borrowing the money in their names and that they and their children who would eventually have to pay it back. They also didn't want to think about how things were going to keep getting more and more expensive because of all the extra waste on top of having to pay back the debt. Some of the children started to look at other kingdoms that had fairy godmothers that had spent and wasted all the people's money and had kept borrowing and wasting money in their names and saw how awful the lives of people in those kingdoms were and decided that they didn't want that to happen in their kingdom but they were fighting powerful forces. The coming election will either be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end.
Phil Clarke you can't have it both ways...in one breath you say you know of parents who have had to take three jobs to pay the Private school fees and in the next you describe those who choose to send their children to private schools as ' better healed '....and you do seem to have an awful lot of 'doubts' about your thoughts.
Tim you seem to have more questions than answers...perhaps when you have given a bit more thought you could enlighten us what you are on about.
Great insight Alan. I'm on about people like yourself who prefer not to discuss the issues because they're too preoccupied defending the indefensible. Perhaps you could shine some light on the coalitions position on education reform? No one else here has given a credible answer. And maybe you could avoid the patronising comments next time?
Tim, when you talk about Gonski, you are talking about a wish list. Lots of people would like to buy a house, but they don't buy the house because they can't afford it. 2 schools of thought, buy it because you like having debt, or don't buy it because you can't afford it. Gonski is the same.
Ken, surely this should be considered an investment? When you invest in something, you should receive a return on the money you spend. I would argue anyone who suggests that giving our children a better education is not a worthy investment. In terms of our level of understanding of this investment, has there been any indication that the Gonski review is not comprehensive? Not to my knowledge. In terms of it's afordability, the public have just backed an increase to medicare to fund the NDIS, surely we can find (less) money to fund a better education for our children.
Ken A very sensible comment. People don't like debt,but the governments don't care, because they are spending our money. It's 'not their money, so why would they care.
The answer to Alan Robertson's post is quite simple. The reason I know how private schools function - and my ambivalent attitude - is that I sent my own son to one. Not everyone who sends a child to a private school is prosperous, expecially amongst the Asian communities, whole families may be involved in funding the famiies pupils in private schools. Some private schools have at least a third of their pupils from Asian backgrounds. Many struggle hard because they can perceive the difference in quality and resources. The school was excellent, the staff well qualified and competent. The pupils were treated with great concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I was born in poorer circumstances so I have seen both sides, indeed initially my son was in the state system here. A bequest, and the fact he was bright, gained him his place. Having a child in a private school does not however make me accept the concept of privileged education; "private" and "privileged" should not be the same. I believe the same standards should be available to all children. My son's school, for example, has an excellent programme of scholarships, which it is developing. I didn't send my child to a private school to be privileged, rather I sent him there so he was not disadvantaged It is quite wrong for the class system to cut in at kindergarten - but that is precisely what it does. Private schooling is all too often about class more than it is about education. Even within the schools themselves there are elite and non-elite streams and the treatment can be quite different. There are internal flaws in the private school system - it is not one internally egalitarian strata. I walked away thinking that my son's school should be how education should be offered to every child. I know that he looks back on his days there with great pride. He even returns to visit it from time to time - for musical and other functions. Every child should be entitled to such reason for pride
i'm sorry to say, this however anyone that trusts Labor's figures is an idiot, a $5bil mining tax that makes little money, carbon tax linked to an ETS that is 1/5th of the current price, promised a budget surplus over 200 x and then of course it didn't happen, $5bil NBN, currently sitting at $35bln, anyone who actually engages them a discussion about forward forecasts would have to have an agenda with a track record like this ...