June 11, 2014  |  Adjournment

School Funding

Mr HOWARD  (Ballarat East)— I  raise a  matter for  the  attention  of  the Minister for Education. I ask the  minister  to  take action to make information available to parents,  students,  teachers  and school principals which explains how the additional Better Schools funding, or Gonski funding, is being allocated across the  state.  Members of the  education  community in my  electorate  were excited to follow the outcomes of the  Gonski review  of education  and to learn that the Gillard federal government was  prepared to commit  substantial funding to support better outcomes for schools across the country. Following the signing of an  agreement between the Victorian  government and the federal government in August last year, that level of excitement grew, and the education community was relieved  when  then  opposition  leader  Tony  Abbott  promised  to  honour the agreement if he became Prime Minister.

The agreement promised an  additional $12.2 billion of funding from the  federal government,  which was  balanced  by the  state  government’s  provision  of  an additional $5.4  billion  to  support  better  outcomes  in our  schools  across Victoria.

Sadly, as we  know, the Abbott government has now agreed to fund  only the first four years of  the agreement,  and I  expect that the Minister for Education and the government will argue strongly for the federal government to honour the full six years of the  agreement. Schools would have  expected to receive substantial increases in their funding under the agreed  Better Schools funding  guidelines, but as yet they still do not understand how this funding is being delivered.

It is  important that  the minister  clarify this matter. I have been talking to school principals and other members of school communities who are  still unclear about how the  Better Schools funding is going  to be delivered to  them and how they  can  plan  better  outcomes  for  their  students  and  put  in  place the appropriate programs.

I  ask  the minister take action to provide clear information to the  principals and school communities across my electorate, and I guess across the whole state, explaining where the Gonski money is, how it is being delivered and how they can plan for the  future.  It  is  clearly  very  important that this information be provided. The expectation is  out there that  schools will gain this  additional funding, but they want to understand how this money is being distributed and how they can expect to spend it.