Still time to negotiate Gonski reforms: Langbroek
QUEENSLAND'S Education Minister has attempted to quell fears the Sunshine State has almost written off signing up to the Gonski reforms, stating the LNP Government still has the rest of the month to negotiate.
Minister John-Paul Langbroek told reporters on Monday morning the Queensland Government had heard "megaphone diplomacy" from the Prime Minister's office in regards to the education reforms.
Mr Langbroek said the State Government was not confident Queensland schools were not going to be worse off under the $14.5 billion model.
"We will keep working with the Federal Government but this is a shot across the bow the Premier has sent to the Prime Minister to try to focus her on the game we are in which is educating our kids in the best way possible," he said.
The comments follow a damning letter Premier Campbell Newman sent to Prime Minister Julia Gillard outlining the impossibility of Queensland signing up to the plan without changes.
Mr Newman wrote in the letter, published in The Australian, because of the Federal Government's lack of understanding it was unlikely a mutually acceptable agreement could be reached by the June 30 deadline.
Asked if this meant Gonski was dead for Queensland, Mr Langbroek said there was still the rest of the month to negotiate.
"We still have the best of this month to negotiate but the Premier has been very clear and very firm in his letter and its obvious we are very concerned about how the Prime Minister has been dealing with us on this issue," he said.
The Australian Education Union accused the Newman Government of stalling and spoiling negotiations to help Coalition leader Tony Abbott's election campaign.
AEU president Angelo Gavrielatos noted that low SES Year 9 students in Queensland were three years behind high SES students in QLD in reading and two years behind in numeracy.
"I cannot for the life of me understand why Premier Newman would not sign up to Gonski without further delay," he said.
"Queensland is well behind the majority of states in literacy and numeracy, and the additional resources that would flow from Gonski would help Queensland start to turn that around."
The Queensland Government has argued about 300 schools would actually be worse off under the funding reforms.
Victoria has also been hesitant to agree to the National Plan for School Improvement while the NSW and ACT Governments have signed up already.
The Federal Government has guaranteed to fund 65% of the $14.5 billion education reform on the basis states and territories fund the rest and index their education spending by 3%.