Tony Abbott Leaves Students $30 Billion Worse Off

The Andrews Labor Government is standing up for Victorian schools, leading the push against Tony Abbott’s education cuts at a meeting of Australia’s education ministers in Brisbane.

James Merlino and Susan Close, the Victorian and South Australian Ministers for Education, today led the charge against the Abbott Government’s refusal to recommit to the Gonski reforms.

The Abbott Government’s 2015-16 Budget reconfirmed its decision to walk away from its obligations under the National Education Reform Agreement (the Gonski Agreement) for years 2018 and 2019.

The Abbott Government has also capped extra funding for Australian school students at 2017 levels, and slashed the future indexation rate for the funding from the originally-agreed 4.7 per cent to CPI (which was 1.3 per cent in the year to March).

This means Australian school kids, their families and their communities will be $30 billion worse off over the 10 years from 2017. Victorian students will be denied $1 billion across 2018 and 2019 alone.

The cuts take funding away from Victoria’s most disadvantaged students – funding that could have paid for more than 8,000 teachers, or more than 10,000 allied health staff like psychologists, speech pathologists, welfare workers and physiotherapists.

The Labor Government has met Victoria’s obligations under the Gonski agreement for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 school years. This decision followed the discovery of a black hole of more than $850 million in funding for Gonski under the previous Liberal Government.

The Labor Government remains committed to Gonski, commissioning former Premier, the Hon Steve Bracks AC, to make recommendations on how to best deliver schools funding beyond 2017.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino

“Australian school kids, their families and their communities will be $30 billion worse off.”

“This is not about politics, it’s about ensuring Australian students have access to a quality education – whatever their background or postcode.

“The Abbott Government must recommit to the Gonski Agreement if they are genuine about protecting our country’s future.”

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