Gonski dollars don’t add up for NT schools

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – It is obvious the sums do not add up in favour of the Territory signing up to the Gonski education reforms.

 

The Territory already has the highest spend per student in Australia. Using the Federal Labor Government Gonski funding will not be better than this and, in fact, 41% of our schools teaching 16,250 of our students will be worse off.

 

Put simply, we spend $15,893 for each student, but through Gonski that would be wound back to the base amount of $9781. Even with loadings added for location, socio-economic status, English language skills, size or disability the funding would still not rise above our current spending.

 

Where’s the advantage for Territory students and schools? Gonski is supposed to be an education improvement model, yet most of the bureaucrats who have penned the reforms have never set foot in a remote Indigenous community.

 

If the Australian Government offers to talk about sensible dollar funding then of course we are open to listening. The majority of the Federal Labor Government’s funding actually goes to the jurisdictions that spend less per student than the Territory.

 

It is not the principles of Gonski we are against, but the Commonwealth is punishing us for already having generous school funding in place.

 

The proposal as it stands is unaffordable and would force the Territory to put in an extra $592 million over the next six years with the Federal Labor Government contributing just $193 million without an additional dollar till 2017.

 

That’s a big ask, with no reward for us, and comes at a time when we are saddled with a dismal financial situation after Delia Lawrie’s former Labor Government left us with massive debt.

 

As it stands, with no new offers on the table for Gonski, the Australian Government will only contribute 33 cents for every dollar the Territory puts in. That’s not on.

 

While the Territory Government continues to negotiate with the Commonwealth in good faith to ensure that NT schools and their students receive the best deal possible, it is hard to tell what will become of Gonski funding if Julia Gillard loses the Prime Ministership to Kevin Rudd.

 

There may be a change of Federal leadership by next week so it would not be responsible for the NT Government to enter into a major funding agreement on such shaky ground.

 

Adam Giles

Chief Minister

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Paul Parker
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    IMHO the simple response is Warren Snowdon sees the difficulties from perspective of a Taliban sympathizer, supporting racial segregation, supporting totalitarian controls of individuals who live in “the homelands” with ongoing denial of otherwise basic civil rights, then blame foreseeable consequential delays to development – social and personal, which result upon others …
    Money rarely builds well on lousy foundations.
    Also my suspicion Warren Snowdon involved in Julia Gillard’s decision to dump Senator Trish Crossin.

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  2. Janet Brown
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Why are so many people so gullible to accept the crap and BS that comes from the current Federal Government? On ABC radio Warren Snowden was talking about the education reforms and so I rang in and asked about increased spending in housing for families as there is a crisis throughout Australia in homelessness for families. How about safety and a roof over the heads of kids first.
    His response EDUCATION IS MORE IMPORTANT. WT. What planet is this guy on and it is obvious he does not go out or read papers or watch news and current affairs.
    Education is more important than a roof over a family Warren, you are kidding me?
    And the disability insurance scheme appears to my reading less than we currently have in place. It is almost like a slight of hand removing spending from the current government purse (our taxes they spend) and then ensuring we all pay into this fund.
    Very clever Julia, no increasing taxes just giving it another name. Levy instead of increased tax. So where are you going spend the money already allocated to disability spending?

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