Victoria has reluctantly signed up to the federal government’s Gonski 2.0 school funding deal – but only for one year under an interim agreement, the Canberra Times reports.
The stoush between the state and federal governments looks set to intensify after Victorian Education Minister James Merlino accused Malcolm Turnbull of making “extraordinary threats” to withhold funding to state, independent and Catholic schools.
“We were not prepared to put funding for our schools and students at risk for 2018,” he said.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham hit back, accusing the Andrews government of “showing contempt” for students.
Just two weeks out from the end of the final school term, signing a short-term agreement with the federal government will provide funding certainty for Victorian schools for next year.
The interim agreement allows for $4.66 billion in Commonwealth funding to flow to Victorian schools in 2018, a $324 million increase from 2017 figures.
But Mr Merlino said he would continue to fight for a better school funding deal and the interim agreement was only for 2018.
“The big fight will be over the next 12 months as we negotiate the best long term deal for Victoria students,” Mr Merlino said.
Most other Australian states have now signed up to the interim agreement.
In a strongly-worded letter to Mr Birmingham, Mr Merlino said it was “regrettable that the Commonwealth government has been unwilling to engage with states and territories in developing a more collaborative approach and equitable approach to school funding.”
Mr Birmingham said he welcomed Mr Merlino’s decision to sign up to the agreement.
Victoria reluctantly signs up to Gonski 2.0 but warns of ‘big fight’ (Canberra Times)
David Gonski on Life and Leadership (University of New South Wales)