Turnbull Government Model
12 May 2017
The funding model announced by the Turnbull Government prior to the Budget is not a “needs-based’ model and is not a further iteration of the model proposed by the Gonski Review panel. The model fails to measure and fund actual need, but claims to distribute the arbitrary ‘bucket’ on a relative needs basis. It abandons the calculation and attainment of measured learning needs.
The Turnbull government’s funding bucket, though clearly increasing over the decade, is $22 billion less than schools had reasonably expected over this next decade under the current funding Act and promises.
It is significant to note that although the full amount of the expected and legislated additional ‘Gonski dollars’ will not flow in 2018 and 2019, the proposed indexation rates in these immediate years will at least ensure that there is sufficient capacity for fair and equitable salary and conditions outcomes in all sectors.
The only exception in relation to indexation is in ACT Catholic systemic schools where funding is immediately being reduced. This change is fundamentally unfair given the failure of government to consult and provide adequate notice of change and clear and sustainable transition provisions. An adequate transition package will be essential and it is unclear as to whether the announcement in this regard is in any way adequate.
The model’s failings:
First, the model does not actually measure and fund the real cost of providing an education system as proposed in the Gonski review. There will be no genuine Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).
Second, the indexation rates proposed do not and will not reflect the historic and actual increased costs in the education sector.
Third, the model has failed to provide a review of the socio-economic status (SES) measure used to underpin the funding, as was required in the current school funding Act. Consequently the SES distribution process remains unreliable.
The IEUA welcomes the commitment of the ALP to fund and meet the obligations and contracts of the current school funding model.
The IEUA notes that the decision of the Turnbull Government to abandon the "unity ticket" commitment to meeting the funding needs identified in the Gonski review is dishonourable.
The funding shortfall announced by the Turnbull Government of $22 billion will impact on the most needy in our school communities.