PM asks states to chip in for schools

STATE leaders will be asked to increase their education budgets to enable the Federal Government to roll out the biggest educational reform in decades - but some are already hesitant.

In line with the Gonski education review, Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday announced a $14.5 billion funding boost for the education sector, with public schools coming out on top.

More than $12 billion will be directed to public schools, $1.4 to catholic schools and $1 billion to independent institutions across the country over six years.

NSW will receive the biggest share of the funding pie with an allocation of $5 billion followed by Victoria with $4 billion and Queensland with $3.8 billion.

South Australia and Tasmania will see a smaller share of $600 million and $400 million respectively while Western Australia and the Northern Territory will receive $300 million.

Ms Gillard has promised to fund 65% of the plan - to be rolled out over six years - on the basis states and territories increase their education budgets by 3% annually.

"For every one dollar they are prepared to put in to get there, I am prepared to put in two dollars," she told media.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has indicated the ability of his debt-stricken state to put more money on the table is limited and has questioned where the Federal Government's lion share is coming from.

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett told AAP it was a terrible deal as it offered 25% less funding per student in his state than already provided.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli did not make any promises only stating his government would examine Ms Gillard's proposal details.

Australia's leaders will head to Canberra this week for the Council of Australian Governments meeting, where negotiations to support Labor's plan will be in full swing.

Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said there should no excuses for states and territory leaders.

"COAG on Friday is a fundamental test of the commitment of all our political leaders to equity in education," he said.

"This cannot be delayed any longer."

The funding proposal will direct $9217 to every primary school student by 2014 and high school students will receive an average of $12,193.

Loadings will also be funded for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, indigenous, isolate and disabled students.

Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne labelled the plan "conski".

"Labor has announced cuts to universities and other programme changes, with funding delays and broken promises, which are worth at least $11 billion over the same period," he said.

"This means that Labor has effectively announced a $1.6 billion cut to education."


"Regional students will be disadvantaged"

Student attainment at regional universities will suffer and an extra burden will be placed on rural and remote students following the Gillard Government's decision to cut $2.3 billion from higher education spending.

The Labor Government will remove the 10% discount for upfront university fees, convert student start-up scholarships into loans and implement a 2% efficiency dividend on universities.

Regional University Network chair Professor David Battersby said the funding cuts would erode regional universities' ability to grow student numbers and lift higher education participation and attainment in regional Australia.

"Regional students will also be disadvantaged by the announced reductions in government funding and support," he said.

"In particular, the conversion of student start-up scholarships into a loan will impact on regional students, many of whom have to relocate for university education. Their debt burden may now become unmanageable."

Should the states support the Government's education reform package?

This poll ended on 15 May 2013.

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This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

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