Denis Napthine unlikely to sign up to ‘Gonski’ reforms

The Napthine Government’s startling admission that it was highly ‘unlikely’ that it would sign up to the ‘National Plan for School Improvement’ is a huge blow for schools across Victoria, Shadow Minister for Education, James Merlino said today.

Mr Merlino said that using the cover of question time and a pre prepared response the Napthine Government labelled the ‘National Plan for School Improvement’ that implements the recommendations of the Gonski review, nothing more than a ‘political slogan’.

“The Napthine Government is walking away from an average $1.8 million boost for every Victorian school under the national plan,” Mr Merlino said.

“Denis Napthine has put the wishes of Tony Abbott and the Federal Liberal Party ahead of needs of Victorian school children.

“Victorian Labor has continually called on the Premier to stop playing politics with the needs of Victorian students and sign up to this once in a generation opportunity to improve the way we fund schools and educate our children,” Mr Merlino said.  

Victorian schools will lose a total of around $3 billion ($1.9 million on average per school) and non-government schools would lose a total of around $1.2 billion ($1.7 million on average per school) over a six year period, if the National Plan for School Improvement is not signed up to by the Napthine Government.  

Mr Merlino said that New South Wales and ACT had already signed up to the ‘Better Schools’ program, with Tasmania also close to reaching an agreement.

“The Minister for Education inNew South Walesis prepared to travel toCanberrato talk up his states deal, whilst Victorian Minister for Education, Martin Dixon seems content on sitting on his backside inMelbourne, taking direct orders from Tony Abbott over the phone.  

“Victorian parents, teachers and school communities are growing sick of the Napthine Government’s blame game tactic in order to cover their education failures,” Mr Merlino said.

“The Napthine Government’s track record on education is grim, having cut $300 million a year out of TAFE and $48 million from the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).

“All governments of different political persuasions at all levels should be working together to pick up and implement the recommendations from the Gonski review, this should not be about political point scoring.

“The ‘National Plan for School Improvement’ means a good education for every local in child inVictoria, regardless of their postcode.

“The Napthine Government’s failures to adequately fundVictoria’s education sector are real; they are impacting on real families’ right acrossVictoria.”