TASMANIAN education advocates have criticised the state government for falling silent on a possible $132 million in federal government funding for the Gonski reform’s final two years.
In Launceston yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull left the door ajar to fund years five and six, saying “all being considered by the government”.
Australian Education Union state branch manager Roz Madsen labelled the Hodgman government a “barrier to Tasmanian students receiving great education”.
However, Premier Will Hodgman said potential commitment “sat well” with the state government, which had committed $134 million to the reform’s full six years — setting aside $77 million in this year’s budget.
Mr Turnbull said any federal money would depend on budget constraints and affordability.
“The previous Labor government did not provide funding for years five and six of Gonski,” he said.
“Federal government funding for schools in Tasmania is increasing and we are very committed to ensuring we get better educational outcomes for all our children, in whichever system they are educated.
“The measure of any education policy is not simply the money that’s being spent. In fact, that’s not much of a measure at all.”
Ms Madsen said a majority of the state’s Gonski funding lay within the final two years and would provide additional teachers, support staff, programs and specialists needed.
“We urge Will Hodgman to seize this opportunity and show leadership in convincing Malcolm Turnbull to deliver the fifth and sixth years of Gonski – worth $132 million to Tasmanian schools,” she said.
Mr Hodgman said he was encouraged by regular conversations with Mr Turnbull about lifting Tasmania.
Mr Turnbull also said the National Disability Insurance Scheme would be fully rolled out by mid-2019.
The state government is in talks with the Commonwealth to join Victoria and NSW in signing a funding deal.
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