Turnbull’s “Alternative Facts” on schools funding

Malcolm Turnbull today repeated the claim that school funding has increased by 50 per cent in the past decade’ in a speech at the Canberra Press Club. This figure is one that has been ‘pulled out of the air’, according to Federation President Maurie Mulheron, and has not been substantiated with any evidence by either the Prime Minister or his Education Minister, Simon Birmingham.

A NSW Government analysis of federal education funding for the period of 2000-2013 showed school spending had increased only 0.97 per cent, which was significantly lower than the real per capita economic growth of 1.48 per cent over the same period.

More importantly, any increase during this period was not distributed according to need.

Since 2014, the Gonski funding agreement has seen funding in NSW schools increase. However, the total recurrent funding increase is to be rolled out incrementally over a six-year period. By the end of the 2016 school year, only 18 per cent of Gonski additional funding had been allocated to schools.

“Turnbull’s claim of a 50 per cent increase in school funding must be one of those ‘alternative facts’ we’ve been hearing about,” Mr. Mulheron said. “The reality is that his government has opposed the Gonski needs-based schools funding model since day one and is still refusing to fully fund it beyond 2017.”

“If Malcolm Turnbull has any hope left of being regarded as a reforming Prime Minister he must stop playing politics with school funding and embrace the Gonski model which is designed to close the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged,” Mr Mulheron said.