Dr Chris Back - Liberal Senator for Western Australia

Little gain from Gonski numbers

May 20, 2013

 Andrew Probyn Federal Political Editor, The West Australian
May 20, 2013, 5:44 am t

WA schools would get just $33,000 each a year in extra Commonwealth funding under Julia Gillard's so-called Gonski reforms - a seventh of what an average Queensland school would get.

The Prime Minister yesterday sought to increase pressure on premiers and chief ministers to agree to her national funding plan, releasing State breakdowns of what schools would get.

But the figures served to entrench Premier Colin Barnett's opposition to the proposal.

Whereas Queensland schools would get $2.2 million extra on average over six years, Victorian schools $1.8 million extra and NSW schools $1.6 million, WA schools would get an average extra $300,000 each over six years.

Two-thirds of the total $14.5 billion in extra money for Australia's schools over six years would come from the Federal Government, with the States expected to stump up the rest.

"As it stands, the Gonski proposal is not attractive to WA - these figures, if anything, only serve to highlight this fact," Mr Barnett said yesterday.

Only NSW, a Liberal-held State, has signed up to the Federal plan so far and Tony Abbott has indicated he would not respect any bilateral agreements unless there was overwhelming support.

States and Territories have until June 30 to sign up.

Ms Gillard said that after securing support for the national disability insurance scheme and a 0.5 point increase to the Medicare levy that will part-fund it, her energy would be directed into changing the "broken" schools funding system.

The PM denied that the Government's figures backed Mr Barnett's complaint that the proposed funding model was geared towards underperforming Eastern States schools. She said WA schools were already funded at a level closer to the recommended resource standard.

"So it is still more money available for Western Australian schools, with two dollars out of three flowing from the Federal Government."

The State Government claims that more than 60 per cent of WA schools would be comparatively worse off because they were already funded above the benchmark levels of $9271 per primary school student and $12,193 for high school students.

'As it stands, the Gonski proposal is not attractive to WA.       Premier Colin Barnett


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