Australian PM Says Gonski Funds Will Reach Victorian Schools

April 18, 2013 Updated: April 18, 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has assured Victorian educators on April 16 that state schools will receive funding promised by the Gonski reforms.

At a community cabinet meeting on April 16 at Norwood Secondary College in Ringwood, local Ringwood Secondary College principal Michael R Phillips asked Ms Gillard how extra school funding proposed under the Gonski reforms will make it past the State Government to schools.

“In my school alone without any of the add-ons, it is over 2 million dollars in extra recurrent funding every year,” Mr Phillips said.

“How can we ensure that the funding actually reaches the schools and is not creamed up by the local education authority?”

Ms Gillard said her government would ensure the money goes to schools as promised. “We won’t be signing up agreements that allow state government bureaucracies to keep money in record amounts or anything like that,” she said.

“We will be making sure that there are proper arrangements so that state education departments have the resources they need. They will not be keeping money that should have gone to schools.”

Prime Minister Gillard has been busy negotiating with state governments to adopt the reforms, offering two dollars for every one dollar committed by the states.

But the extra $14.5 billion planned for schools has in part been funded by a controversial cut of $2.3 billion to higher education.

While the Federal Opposition are calling it “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, another school principal also disagreed with the policy logic behind the cuts.

“It is not appropriate that one sector has to lose funding in order to build up another,” Dr Helen Healy, principal of St Mary Magdalene Catholic Primary School told The Epoch Times.

“I strongly believe that learning is life-long and we need to support tertiary education as well.”

Greens Deputy Leader and Federal Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt said his party also opposes the cuts, while addressing students and staff at RMIT University on April 16.

“Everyone in Australia has the right to a world-class education – from start to finish,” he said.

“We will oppose these cuts as well as the cuts to scholarships and student support.”