Budget 2017/2018: Breaking down Gonski 2.0

I always hear about Gonski funding, but what is it?

Back in 2010, the Gillard government commissioned a report(led by businessman David Gonksi) regarding school funding based on the simplepremise that “every child should have access to the best possible education,regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school theyattend.”

Essentially, the report proposed needs-based funding,meaning that additional assistance is distributed to students who need morehelp due to personal circumstances such as disability, financial struggles orliving arrangements.

The original report was eventually released in February2012. The Gonksi reforms included 41 recommendations that ranged from increasedfunding and building a different funding framework to establishing a NationalSchools Resourcing Body and a Schools Planning Authority.

Then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard approved several of therecommendation in 2013, vowing to boost school funding by $14.5 billion oversix years if all states and territories increased their own spending by threeper cent. Only Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and theAustralian Capital Territory signed off on the idea, meaning that instead of anational approach there were 27 different deals in place.

Was Gonksi implemented?

After Tony Abbott became Prime Minister in 2013, the governmentcommitted to the first four years of Gonski, increasing funding for the statesthat refused to sign up (Western Australia, Queensland and the NorthernAustralia). Instead of setting up management plans in the state’s schoolsystems, the government opted for inspectors based in Canberra.

However, there has been criticism that nearly two thirds ofthe initial funding were earmarked for schools during the final two years ofthe initiative, which wasn’t financed by the Abbott government.

So, why is Gonksi back in the news?

Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently announcedGonksi 2.0, a 10-year endeavour that will see Commonwealth funding rise to$30.6 billion. David Gonski will once again conduct a review of education inAustralia, while Labor has claimed that schools are being short-changed $22billion as a result of the original plan being cut short.

For the time being, it appears the second wave of Gonskiwill be successful, with 9,000 schools set to benefit, while 24 others will experience funding cuts.

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