Abbott Government will honour Gonski deals
GONSKI is "backski". Thanks to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne pledge today to honour deals done under the former Labor Government's Gonski reforms, northern New South Wales alone will be returned $19 million in 2014 school funding that was to be chopped.
Queensland too - which did no formal deal with the former government - will score some $794 million over the coming four years.
The PM and Mr Pyne drew waves of criticism in the past week after flagging changes to education funding, after promising it was on a "unity ticket" with Labor's education policy before the September election.
The intensity of the attacks increased as Liberal premiers in both Victoria and New South Wales attempted to publicly shame the Commonwealth into abiding by the deals.
Less than a week ago, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said Mr Pyne failed to "pick up the phone and explain what the hell is going on".
By Monday afternoon, the vitriol was gone, replaced by praise from the now-beaming Mr O'Farrell.
He said the sudden change in position "not only highlights Tony Abbott's willingness to listen, but also demonstrates what can be achieved when a Federal Government is prepared to sit down and work with the states".
Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said he was happy to see the Coalition honouring the deal done by its predecessors.
"We'll be able to use this funding to achieve better student outcomes by boosting teacher quality, increasing school autonomy and improving school discipline," he said.
The changes are likely to be introduced into Parliament next year.