THE Coalition will keep the government's $6.5 billion school reforms package if it can be satisfied no school will lose funding, the opposition education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, said yesterday.
Mr Pyne's comments are a reversal of his pledge in June that a Coalition government would repeal legislation passed to introduce the Gonski reforms if elected to government next year.
A panel led by the businessman and academic David Gonski recommended the government invest an additional $5 billion a year, in 2009 terms, to address the growing divide between disadvantaged and wealthy students. In today's terms, this equates to $6.5 billion.
Mr Pyne has previously described the model as ''unworkable" and "grotesquely expensive". But yesterday he told the ABC's Insiders program: ''If it works for us, we will keep it. But the government has to come up with $8 billion a year for their model to actually work.''
The Coalition claims the school reforms would cost $8 billion to ensure no school loses money. ''If anybody seriously believes that this government has that, they'll also believe in the magic pudding,'' Mr Pyne said.
But the Education Minister, Peter Garrett, said the comment revealed the opposition's education policy ''is in tatters''.