Posted on 27. Nov, 2013 in News

Victorian students are set to be worse off, with the Napthine Government allowing its Federal Liberal counterparts to renege on a deal that would see schools across the state benefit from millions of dollars of additional support funding, Shadow Minister for Education, James Merlino said today.

Mr Merlino said with the Federal Abbott Government walking away from its election pledge to provide ‘Gonski’ school funding to all schools in Victoria, it was the responsibility of the Napthine Government to advocate for Victoria and secure the promised funding.

“Denis Napthine and his Education Minister, Martin Dixon, must take the fight up to their Liberal colleagues in Canberra and secure the funding that was promised to Victorian schools,” Mr Merlino said.

“It’s time that the Napthine Government put its Liberal Party political allegiances with the Abbott Government aside and fight for every dollar from the agreement that was promised.

“With National Partnership Funding lapsing and no Victorian ‘Gonski’ funding in school budgets, immense strain will be placed on school curriculums for the 2014 year.

“It has never been in the DNA of a Liberal Government to invest in education, and this latest move only rubs further salt into the wounds of Victorian school communities.

“Premier Denis Napthine has an obligation to every school, every student and every parent to fight for every dollar from the ‘Gonski’ agreement and needs to do more than just write a letter to their Canberra colleagues,” Mr Merlino said.

The Napthine Government has already broken their part of the agreement with ‘Gonski’ funding not being included in Victorian schools indicative budgets, despite Mr Napthine previously stating that schools would see increases in support funding from the start of the 2014 year.

Mr Merlino said that despite the Abbott Government’s decision both New South Wales and Tasmania had dispersed their respective state government Gonski funding allocations, with schools in both states aware of how much they will receive under the deal.

“The Napthine Government has a poor track record with education, having cut $300 million a year out of TAFE, and $48 million from the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL),” Mr Merlino said.

“Almost as soon as coming to government the Napthine Government abandoned the Victorian Schools Plan to renovate, rebuild or modernise every Victorian government school in favour of their own biased building plan based on Coalition marginal seats.

“This government’s failures to adequately fund Victoria’s education sector are very real; they are impacting on real families right across Victoria.”

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