War over Gonski reforms rages as Qld Govt resists change

A NEW row has erupted between the Queensland and Federal Governments over the proposed Gonski reforms with the Queensland Premier accused of misleading school principals.

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek sent a letter to Queensland principals recently claiming 300 schools would actually be worse off under the Gillard Government's sweeping education reforms.

Ms Gillard has proposed a $14.5 billion education package over six years to Australian public schools, which the Commonwealth will fund 65% of on the provision states and territories by increasing their education spending by 3%.

Premier Campbell Newman has indicated his debt-stricken state is unlikely to find the extra $1.3 billion, on top of already announced initiatives including bonuses for teachers, to make the Gonski reforms a reality in Queensland.

In his letter to principals, also signed by Mr Newman, Mr Langbroek said the Federal Government's modelling indicated 300 Queensland schools would be worse off under the reforms.

Mr Langbroek said his government only received the modelling on April 17.

But School Education Parliamentary Secretary Senator Jacinta Collins said the Newman Government only wanted to enter serious negotiations on the education reforms when it discovered other states might get on board.

She said Mr Newman was stalling in the face of their offer and giving misleading excuses.

"If Mr Newman decides to stay with the current broken schools funding model Queensland will stand to lose over $1 billion over the coming years - the equivalent of $643,000 per school and $1491 per student," she said.

"Mr Newman needs to do what is right for Queensland students, teachers, and parents and sign up to these reforms."

Ms Collins stated that although the education model had changed to reflect the current offer, Queensland received the modelling in September, 2012.

NSW was the first state to sign up to the Gonksi reforms, agreeing to find their $1.7 billion share of the funding pie.

Remaining unswayed on Friday, Mr Langbroek stated Queensland would not sign up to any reforms that left it worse off.

"From 2015 it is anticipated that the Federal Government funding for kindergartens will run out and Julia Gillard has already announced her plans to remove scholarships and other assistance from higher education," he said.

Mr Langbroek said the Newman Government was still open to negotiating a deal with the Federal Government on school funding but it had to be in the best interests of all Queenslanders.


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