LETTER TO THE EDITOR
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.
Giles sticks with his 'no' to Gonski
LETTER TO THE EDITOR