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Gonski funding under scrutiny

QUEENSLAND Catholic Education Commission is working through “a number of unknowns” before it reaches “a definitive position on the Gonski funding model”.

This comes after Prime Minister Julia Gillard and premiers at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting failed to reach agreement on a Federal Government plan for a school funding overhaul.

Under its new model, the Federal Government is offering the states $14.5 billion in schools funding from next year, with the Government to pay 75 per cent of the total and the rest coming from state coffers.

The Gonski reforms were rejected after 90 minutes of discussions at the April 19 COAG meeting.

The states were given until June 30 to make a decision on the reforms.

QCEC executive director Mike Byrne said the Federal Government’s commitment of an additional $1.4 billion funding for Catholic schools “was welcome”.

He also commended Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s work on the issue.

“QCEC continues to do detailed modelling work to validate the figures provided by the Federal Department (DEEWR) and assess the impact for the Queensland Catholic sector share of the additional funds,” he said.

“The funding position of Catholic schools comparative to other schooling sectors is also critical to assessing the model, and we are not yet aware of the details of modelling carried out by the independent and government schooling sectors.
“In this respect, I commend our Premier Campbell Newman for forming a group comprising the Catholic, state and independent schooling sectors and senior government officials.

“This group will review the proposed funding model and help inform the State Government prior to the June 30 decision deadline.

“The final outcome that the Gonski model would deliver for Catholic schools in Queensland is also dependent on a significant injection of funding from the State Government.

“QCEC is committed to ongoing negotiations with both State and Federal governments to achieve an equitable funding outcome for Catholic schools.”

Meanwhile, Australian Catholic University public policy institute executive director Professor Scott Prasser questioned the Federal Government’s involvement in education funding.

“Education doesn’t need an overhaul from Canberra, it’s a state matter,” Prof Prasser told The Catholic Leader.

“We need to remember the Commonwealth Government runs no schools; that’s a state matter,” he said.

“This Government proposal amounts to a phenomenal intrusion into the State Government’s responsibilities to run education.

“These proposals also require much more reporting not only from state but also private schools.”

Prof Prasser was also critical of plans to remove money from the university sector to help pay for school funding increases.

“This seems contradictory and illogical,” he said.


Written by: Paul Dobbyn
Catholic Church Insurance

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