Western Teacher : Volume 42.5 June 2013
The PM inPerth More than 200 principals around Australia joined a national teleconference with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 12 June 2013 to find out what Gonski funding will mean for their states. Facilitated by AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos, a principal from every state had the opportunity to ask the PM a question about the proposed Gonski funding model. Prime Minister Gillard advised that she was in WA and had met with Premier Barnett earlier that day. She had tabled to him an improved funding model with an additional $580 million under the Gonski funding scheme for WA children, an offer which Mr Barnett rejected. A WA principal questioned the PM about the state's rejection of the revised proposal which would deliver $922 million dollars of school funding over six years to WA. The Prime Minister noted that Premier Barnett was concerned about the quantum and his claim that it is a take-over of education by the Federal Government. "This is not the case," said PM Julia Gillard. Ms Gillard claimed that Mr Barnett istrying to delay the M acceptance of the offer until after the federal election, however, she says the offer will no longer remain. She reminded the forum that leader of the opposition Tony Abbott and shadow education spokesperson Christopher Pyne have made it clear that if they come into power they will reject the need to increase funding to public schools. Getting all states and territories signed up by 30 June will make it very difficult for the Coalition to unpick this funding model. Victoria asked the PM about what will happen if Premier Denis Napthine does not sign the deal and if the offer will be extended. Ms Gillard said the deal will not be extended and if Napthine doesn't come to the party, the children of Victoria will not only miss out on the increase under this national plan, but will be caught in the current funding model which leads to a decline in funds for public schools. She noted National Partnership money isdrawing to a close, too. Prime Minister Gillard clarified elements of the new funding model including the "indexation" component. This new scheme delivers increased funds including annual indexation of 3% by state governments and 4.7% by the Federal Government. This is further funding for our schools. A question was asked about accountability and reporting for these funds. "Each school will need to have a school improvement plan, a plan that is worked on locally but with clear directions - the normal accountabilities that schools have now. We will be ensuring that there is transparency with regard to the allocations of funds. The loadings are allocated to address the identified needs," said Ms Gillard. PM meets with Union Leaders and Industrial Staff During her visit to Perth, Ms Gillard also took the opportunity to meet with union leaders in a forum held by UnionsWA. The Prime Minister drew attention to the significant list of legislative benefits she says her Government has carried forward for the benefit of the Australian community, its families and workers.
Volume 43.1 January 2014