Following the news that the Federal Government is contemplating changing the funding model for public schools, a round of finger pointing has ensued, most recently culminating in the Federal Education Minister attacking the Queensland State Government’s stance on the matter.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raised the prospect of the Commonwealth withdrawing funding for the public school system and instead allowing the state’s to raise funds through their own taxes.
“It’s not that Mr Turnbull and his Liberals can’t afford to fund public schools, it is that they’re choosing not to,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, in a subsequent statement.
It’s understood that should the changes go ahead, the Commonwealth would continue to fund private and independent schools.
In Queensland, the issue was brought under a broader discussion on income tax-sharing, with State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying the Turnbull Government has underestimated her state’s needs and intends to push for further funding, despite securing $445 million for hospitals in the current deal.
The Federal Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham has denied Ms Palaszczuk’s stance, saying that “it is an utter lie” to suggest Federal funding for Queensland schools will decrease.
“Our investment in Queensland schools is increasing by $844.7 million or 27.5 per cent from 2014-15 to 2018-19, despite the scare campaign being peddled by Labor and the unions. Beyond that it will keep going up, each and every year,” Mr Birmingham said in a statement, released yesterday.
“This increased investment is in stark contrast to Queensland Government school funding that from 2009-10 to 2013-14 actually contracted by 0.4 per cent, while Commonwealth funding increased by 30.2 per cent.”
Mr Birmingham asserts that all allocation of Queensland school funding is controlled by the State and its Education Minister, Kate Jones.
“If a government school receives a cut in funding, the blame squarely falls at the feet of Ms Jones who has complete autonomy over how much each school receives and, most importantly, how it is used.”