Contrary to its call to implement needs-based funding to schools across the country, Australia’s coalition government’s budget has revealed that the neediest schools are set to lose financial support, a move that affects disadvantaged students.
In an about face, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham are denying the existence of funding cuts to the country’s public schools in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, cuts that have already been included in the budget. The cuts are at odds with the Government’s promise to fund needs-based schools, especially when billions of dollars are being siphoned from Gonski funding.
“They say that their new funding model will be needs-based, yet their own figures show they are stripping money from public schools in the two jurisdictions with the highest need – the Northern Territory and Tasmania,” said Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe
Haythorpe has pointed out that federal funding for public schools in the Northern Territory is set to drop from $167.3 million AUD in 2016/17 to $138.4 million in 2018/19, while in Tasmania the funding will fail to reach a promised 3.56 percent increase.
The Northern Territory funding is of great concern due to it being home to one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged populations in Australia. Fifty-four of the country’s most 100 disadvantaged schools are in the Northern Territory, while 44 percent of students live in remote locations.