The Turnbull Government should stop using the Budget deficit as an excuse not to fund the last two years of Gonski, public school advocate Save Our Schools (SOS) said today.
SOS also called on Labor to stop “dithering” about committing to the plan it devised while in government and get serious about implementing the funding agreement.
“The fundamental question is whether the Turnbull Government and Labor are prepared to make the rich and big business pay their fair share of tax and invest it in reducing disadvantage in education,” SOS national convener, Trevor Cobbold, said in a statement.
“This will improve the lives of the low income students, improve workforce skills and participation and increase productivity.”
Late last month, Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, said he "didn't see much benefit for anyone" if the government dedicated two further years of funding "just to create more uncertainty down the track".
“I want a school funding system that is genuinely needs-based and is targeting the money where it is most required,” he said, adding that while he supported some elements of the Gonski program such as distributing more funding to schools with disadvantaged students, he argued spending more will not necessarily improve educational outcomes.
Cobbold said the government’s decision would be counter-productive to its own goal of creating a high-performing economy.
“If the Prime Minister really believes in the need to develop an innovative, agile, knowledge-based economy it should be a straightforward choice. A high-performing education system with minimum levels of disadvantage means a high-performing economy,” Cobbold said.
He added that even “a partial claw-back” of revenue lost through tax concessions and corporate tax evasion would fund Gonski.
“The funding needed to finance the average $3.5bn a year for each of the last two years of Gonski is only 10% of the total tax revenue forgone annually,” Cobbold said.