Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne says the former Labor government has left the coalition with a $1.
2 billion schools funding shortfall.
Mr Pyne says the pre-election financial outlook released by Treasury and Finance before the September poll reflects the shortfall.
The Better Schools treatment of payments for non-participating states and territories showed a $1.2 billion “cut” because the money was taken from the education budget and returned to consolidated revenue, the minister said.
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“The implications for the new schools funding model are that the funding envelope is now $1.6 billion as opposed to $2.8 billion that Labor promised in the budget last year,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Canberra.
This has created a problem for the coalition, which already faces fiscal constraints due to declining government revenue.
“The cupboard is very bare,” Mr Pyne said on Tuesday.
“It’s simply not possible to find that money.
“The government has been left very short of funds.”
However, Mr Pyne said the government will guarantee schools funding for NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT for the 2014 school year.
The minister will also continue to work with Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory – which didn’t make any agreements with Labor – on their funding for next year.
But beyond 2014, Mr Pyne wants a new schools funding model that is “flatter, fairer and simpler”.
“The new schools funding model is a complete shambles,” he said.
He says he’ll be looking at the issue over coming months before formulating a new model.
Mr Pyne denies the coalition is breaking an election promise on schools funding.
“We said that we would have the same funding envelope and we will,” he said.
“But I also made it very clear that I didn’t support the central command and control features that were coming from Canberra and I won’t have that in the model.”
States that had a deal with Labor had to accept the government in Canberra had changed.
“The change of government means that the new government will implement its policy in the future,” Mr Pyne said,
“The way our system works is that no government can bind any future government.
“What one government does another government can undo.”
Before the election, the government described its stance on Labor’s schools funding policy as a “unity ticket”.Continue Reading →