Distrust lingers after multiple backflips on Gonski schools funding

GONSKI has been onski then offski, now it appears it is backski, or at least it was last week.

The Chairman of Unions Shoalhaven Tim Montgomery said he was not surprised that a little over a week ago the government was looking to scrap the Gonski national education program.

“Firstly the Libs were in denial of what Gonski found before the election.

“But they didn’t want to admit they wouldn’t implement Gonski because it was a very strong election issue.

“The polls were showing it was an issue voters were taking to the polls.”

However, Mr Montgomery said he was amazed at the backflips of the past week.

“Now things are so confused that nobody really knows what’s going to happen,” he said.

“What’s the government going to implement? They’ve said so many different things it’s impossible to know what they’re going to do.

“And if we did know should we trust them anyway?

“They really need to be honest about why they keep changing their mind on this.”

While school principals are not permitted to speak to the media on the issue, at least one indicated to the South Coast Register that they would not be counting on the funding for school programs until it was in the bank.

Mr Montgomery said from what he understood there seemed to be no requirement for the jurisdictions that hadn’t already signed up to Gonski – Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia - to put in money for the program.

 “The idea was the states would put in more substantially more money and the federal government would put in more money so we would have a big pool of funds.

“If some states are not required to put money in, then what happens with those that have?

“The NSW government agreed to pay $1 billion.

“If those states think they can get away without putting money in I’m sure they will try.

“They will at least be asking why should they put money in if the others aren’t?

“It’s very obvious that the federal government’s heart is not in it. They’re looking for ways to get out of it. Although now they’ve said they’re going to fund it for four years. That’s a long time and there will be an election in that time.

“I can’t believe [Education Minister Christopher] Pyne still has a job after all this. People have been sacked for less,” Mr Montgomery said.

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis said her government was “actually putting the money back into the allocation for education”.

“The money was taken out by Labor. We are putting in the funds as required and needed for education,” she said.

“If people had believed us at the time of the budget they would have known that the forward estimates did not match the money that was being promoted by Labor, and now they want to change the interpretation of facts. 

“Education is going to be much better, with greater investment, more emphasis on student achievement, teacher quality and parents being consulted,” Mrs Sudmalis said.

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