Australian Government Holds Back $5 Billion in Ed Funding

In the biggest review of school funding since 1974, the Gonski review of funding in Australian schools, headed by David Gonski, has recommended that Gillard's government should boost education funding by around $5 billion.

However, while calling the report "very detailed" and "impressive in its insights", Gillard fell short of committing the extra money, saying that the government would not be rushed into making any funding commitments, and would undertake a detailed consultation process on the report's proposals, writes Lanai Vasek at The Australian.

"We want to work through on all of the details of the report first," she said.

"Of course we are going to do the in-detail work now and I am not going to make financial commitments for forthcoming government budgets until we've done all that work.

"We will work this through but we do not go around making promises about the government's budget until we are in a position about what it will all mean."

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said that there would be a number of public stakeholder events in coming months to establish working groups to test the recommended model in the Gonski review. These events will include online forums and community meetings.

"We will have an opportunity as we roll our sleeves up to work closely with the community," he said.

The Gonski report recommends a new funding model where the federal government has a greater role in funding public schools, as, at the moment, it is the responsibility of the states and territories to fund the public school systems.

"It says an urgent "significant additional investment" is required because of the federal government's commitment that no school would lose a dollar and the slipping of the performance of Australian students in international and national tests," writes Vasek.

But the Gonski report has drawn heavy criticism from West Australian Premier Colin Barnett who slammed it, saying that it's an attempt by the commonwealth to take over state-run schools.

Barnett pointed out that 70 per cent of students in WA went to state government schools that were 90 per cent funded by the WA government, and only 10 per cent by the commonwealth, writes the Australian Associated Press.

"This is the commonwealth trying to say we want your money, we want to pool it and we now want to administer state government schools.

"Sorry, ain't gonna happen.

"This is a repeat of the attempt to take over the mining industry. It's a repeat to try to take over our public hospitals.

"Why would you trust education in the commonwealth hands when they can even decide who should be prime minister?" Barnett said.

02 23, 2012
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