WA resists Rudd Gonski push

AAP

Kevin Rudd hasn't secured a breakthrough with West Australian Premier Colin Barnett on the federal government's school funding plan.

But Mr Barnett said the newly re-installed prime minister was already proving a lot easier to deal with than predecessor Julia Gillard, and he was confident the state could be involved in the DisabilityCare program in coming months.

The Liberal leader emerged from his Perth office after a one-hour meeting with Mr Rudd on Friday afternoon refusing to accept the prime minister's insistence the scheme formerly known as Gonski would not involve Canberra wresting control of schools from states and territories.

That remains the main sticking point for Mr Barnett.

"The major point of difference here is the way the legislation is put together, which gives the commonwealth a huge degree of control over education at a school level," he said.

Mr Rudd had earlier labelled such fears "nonsense", urging WA to "hop on board with the rest of the country".

Victoria and Queensland continue to hold out, and Education Minister Bill Shorten concedes a deal with the Northern Territory is unlikely.

Mr Barnett said WA could become involved in DisabilityCare, however.

"I am hopeful we can reach agreement on a trial site here in Western Australia," he said.

"The prime minister has undertaken to have a look at that."

He described Mr Rudd as "far more conciliatory" than Ms Gillard.

"It was very difficult to get Julia to change her position on anything - some might say stubborn - and she did launch into political and media attacks on other premiers.

"Kevin Rudd was prepared to talk very openly and frankly, and I appreciate that.

"There are still differences, but at the end of the day, everyone wants to see a national program for disability and everyone welcomes increased funding into schools."

The leaders also discussed the Browse gas project and asylum seekers.

More from Business Spectator

Comments

Please login or register to post comments

Comments Policy »
But nobody trusts Rudd's centralist management and narcissistic behaviour.
But nobody trusts Rudd's centralist management and narcissistic behaviour.