Sunday, July 21, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 18Giles sticks with his 'no' to Gonski

Giles sticks with his 'no' to Gonski

Sir – I am standing up for Territory students and rejecting Kevin Rudd’s flawed Gonski education formula that says dozens of local schools need less funding.
Kevin Rudd and Bill Shorten should be ashamed of themselves for making deceitful claims about a terrible model that makes false promises to Territory schools.
For weeks we’ve been subjected to Kevin Rudd and Bill Shorten manoeuvring behind-the-scenes for political advantage without making sufficient improvements to the offer on the table.
The Federal Government continues to release misleading calculations based on false assumptions about how much funding Territory schools currently receive.
Kevin Rudd can say whatever he likes for the cameras but I am calling this model out for what it is – Gonski is a con that says more than 40% of Territory students attend schools that get too much funding and need less.
Each year, the Federal Government’s school-by-school formula says: Darwin High School and Palmerston Senior College are overfunded by around $2m, Moil Primary School by more than $1.3m and Bradshaw Primary School by more than $900,000.
In recognition that many schools stand to be disadvantaged under its formula, the Federal Government has promised these “losing” schools will receive the same as they did last year plus just 3% or close to CPI.
This would maintain but not enhance their current funding. For at least six years they would just be marking time.
Canberra is trying to hoodwink us into signing up to a bad deal that diverts money away from urban students in Darwin, the rural area, Palmerston, Alice Springs and Katherine and redistributes it to remote schools.
I, more than anyone, support our remote school children getting a better education and I have already instructed the Education Department to begin an Indigenous education review. But any new school funding formula must benefit all Territory schools.
We currently spend an average of $15,649 per student in the Northern Territory, well above the national average of $9466. Despite what has been publicly reported, the NT Government was originally asked to contribute an extra $625 million over six years. The Commonwealth would provide just $193 million.
We can’t afford this extra burden because of the $5.5 billion debt left by Delia Lawrie’s inept Labor Government. It would risk our credit rating, force cuts in other areas and hurt Territory children who would ultimately have to pay off this extra debt.
We have tried to convince the Federal Government to narrow the funding gap but the offer on the table remains unaffordable.
Adam Giles
Chief Minister


  1. You keep playing this pathetic blame-game Mr Giles, but you too will be judged, not least by overseeing a seven day per week take-away alcohol policy, when the evidence for turning down the tap can be seen every day in the streets of Territory towns.
    You appear unable to see the connection between liberal alcohol supply and education.
    You may also be unaware that the history of Indigenous education was pioneered by Christian missionary’s long before Australian governments allowed Indigenous children to participate in State schools.
    The present disadvantage, most precariously felt in remote areas of the NT is, in my view, connected to their family situation revolving around alcohol dependency and lack of any but casual employment. I have written about private ownership of land and housing elsewhere.
    We have gone backwards and you are continuing this trend. Before Rev. John Flynn, a visionary leader and Alfred Traeger pioneered the School of the Air with their schemes for “a brighter bush”, they brought wireless to remote stations where white children played with the children of Indigenous station workers and cross-cultural education existed.
    Flynn organised pen-pals for town and city kids to write to remote kids, in effect, revealing through such charity the heart of our nation.
    School children from Adelaide held a fete in the mid-1920s to raise money for furniture for Adelaide House in Alice Springs, in other words, they contributed to the welfare of less-advantaged bush kids, but your policy seems to suggest an equal-playing field.
    This space would have been much better utilised by informing us of the terms of reference of your Indigenous Education Review.

  2. IF the NT serious with concerns for rural students to obtain a equal education opportunities then NT needs NOT an “Indigenous” Education review, rather a full open independent public review concerning rural education and how best to ensure all secondary students can achieve mainstream standards.
    Many rural communities – even with primary schools, lack numbers to provide decent secondary schooling for basic curricula at mainstream standards.
    Rural community students without mainstream standard secondary schooling need subsidy to attend boarding schools.
    Rural community families need equal access to same basic subsidy for their children to attend secondary boarding schools.
    Indeed same review really needs be conducted into Commonwealth support for all rural and remote students around Australia.

  3. Judging by this press release, Adam Giles’ writer must be in training to win the first annual Goebbels Award for an absolutely misleading press release in the service of malign government propaganda. Maybe s/he was ordered to write it?

  4. @3 Yes, Russell, but the present disadvantage felt in remote areas is not school disadvantage.
    Remote Aboriginal schools across the nation have received massive funding under National School Partnerships and other programs including the Building Education Revolution.
    While this has happened absenteeism has increased and NAPLAN outcomes have either gone down or not reflected the financial inputs.
    As Chief Minister correctly points out that much more of the increased funding, as a percentage, goes to the remote schools, the same ones which have demonstrated that money alone will not assist their outcomes.
    Meanwhile the hard pressed urban schools do not benefit greatly from Gonski and yet it is these schools that need the increased funding.

  5. Some very artful turns of phrase in this press release appear to suggest that the Gonski plan is somehow going to take money away from dozens of schools, when this is not at all the case – “Gonski is a con that says more than 40% of Territory students attend schools that get too much funding and need less.”
    Or, to interpret that another way, these schools receive adequate funding and don’t need substantial further investment. Regardless, their funding is set to increase over the next six years in line with the CPI.
    So how are these schools “losing” anything? And surely, the promises to increase their funding each year by 3% are designed to AVOID schools being disadvantaged under the Gonski formula, not IN RECOGNITION of this fact? Obfuscation indeed.

  6. You have to hand it to Chief Minister Giles, he is adept at playing the ‘political’ game. Unfortunately he lacks depth of argument when it comes to substance on an issue. Too many of his ministerial colleagues carry the same tag.
    It is breathtaking that he is grandstanding on the Gonski funding proposal claiming that NT schools will be worse off! Yet, just one example, his government has just reneged on a $5000 incentive payment to new teachers placed out bush if they stay on there after a year.
    Continuity of teachers in bush locations has long been a problem re better education outcomes for kids. A married couple notified their bush principal, at the end of this last mid-year vacation break, of their resignation. Naturally it has left the unfortunate school principal with the stress of trying to get them replaced; their stay had been just 18 months.
    It is interesting to note that the writer of the only letter, re the Gonski funding initiative, supporting the Chief Minister’s stance did not have the backbone to put their name to their letter.


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