Malcolm Turnbull

'Gonski 2.0' school funding plan amounts to $22b cut: Plibersek

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Federal Labor has criticised the Turnbull government's 'Gonski 2.0' plan to pour $18.6 billion into schools, saying it's a smoke and mirrors effort to hide funding cuts.

The federal opposition says the plan, which would increase commonwealth school funding by 75 per cent over the next decade, actually amounts to a $22 billion reduction.

“What we get today is a smoke and mirrors, pea and thimble effort to hide the fact that instead of cutting $30 billion over the decade, this government would cut $22 billion from schools over the decade," Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told reporters.

“These people think we are all idiots if we are going to swallow a $22 billion cut and be grateful for it."

Labor would look closely at the details of the package to see whether there was anything that could be supported in parliament, she said.

“But on first blush, all I can say is ‘Tell them they’re dreaming’,” she said.

The Australian Education Union said it’s still unclear how schools would be funded next year.

“All we have is another review and a promise for a funding increase over 10 years,” AEU Victoria President Meredith Peace said.

The union says the government should honour the six-year agreements signed with the states in 2013.

“Schools can’t wait 10 years for the resources their students need. A student in Year 4 today will have left school by the time this funding is delivered.”

Watch: PM announces 'Gonski 2.0'

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“If Malcolm Turnbull can afford to give companies a $50 billion tax cut, he can afford to give students the support they need to succeed at school.”

A new review to be led by David Gonski, who led the 2011 report which called for a needs-based school funding model, was “a delaying tactic to avoid giving schools the funding they need,” Ms Peace said.

“This review is only to look at how money is spent, not the amount. It is walking away from the principle of the federal government working with states and territories to properly resource schools.

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