‘We won’t be bullied’: Govt rejects Gonski agreement

‘We won’t be bullied’: Govt rejects Gonski agreement
More than $1bn in school funding is now in doubt after the South Australian Government said it will not let the Federal Government “bully” it into signing the Gonski 2.0 funding agreement.

The move makes South Australia the first jurisdiction in the nation to formally reject the national school funding agreement.

SA Education Minister, Susan Close, wrote to Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, saying the government would not be party to the reforms because they would leave the state’s schools $210m worse off over the next two years.

“By not signing up to the new education funding plan interim agreement, South Australia has further demonstrated it won’t be bullied by the Turnbull Government,” Minister Close said in a statement today.

“[Senator Birmingham] clearly wants states to sign up just to end our campaign for maintaining our original funding agreement. We won’t be complicit in agreeing to their reneging on the original deal.”

Previously, the Federal Government advised the South Australian Government that it would pull $1.2bn in Federal funding from all South Australian schools if the state refused to sign up and effectively endorse their new funding plan.

“It is a sign of a chaotic Federal Government that they are so desperate for states to bend the knee and stop campaigning for proper and agreed funding levels, that they are prepared to threaten schools with closure next year,” Minister Close said.

However, the Federal Government has hit back, saying the SA Government’s perspective on the issue is at odds with school communities across the state.

“By refusing to sign the agreement, state Labor is effectively saying it doesn’t want $1.29 billion for SA schools next year,” Birmingham said, adding the stand-off was jeopardising a federal funding boost to South Australian schools of $804m. 

“This stance is reckless and creates unnecessary uncertainty for South Australian schools who are otherwise guaranteed record and growing levels of federal funding next year.”

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