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Queensland forgotten in Gonski funding 'cuts' - Labor

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The Turnbull Government has just proved it either "doesn't care or has forgotten about Queensland", Education Minister Kate Jones said, following her federal counterpart's comments on Gonski school funding.

Simon Birmingham told Fairfax Media, the Federal Government would not fund the final two years of the Gonski schools agreement struck under the Gillard Government, when two-thirds of the $10 billion deal was due to start flowing and would instead look to strike a fresh deal with the states from 2018.

Ms Jones said there was just one problem with that – Queensland's funding was due to expire in mid-2017.

"The fact that Simon Birmingham is out there saying we won't talk to the states until 2018 proves he has forgotten or is just ignoring Queensland," she said.

"In Queensland, we are expecting another 90,000 students across the state, Catholic and independent schooling sectors in the next three years and we have to ensure we have security of that funding to cater for the job we have educating Queensland's future students.

"I also think it is a cynical ploy by the Turnbull Government to try and take education off the federal election agenda, but really it shows nothing has changed despite a change in Prime Ministers and the first $6 billion in funding cuts made under the Abbott Government are locked in.


"You might change the name of the Prime Minister, but it's apparent a leopard doesn't change its spots."

Ms Jones said she also found it absurd that the Commonwealth Government was embarking on an agenda of innovation – but was cutting funding to the foundation of innovation, education.

The relationship between the Queensland Government and the Commonwealth after Malcolm Turnbull took over the leadership started on a high note, with the Coalition Prime Minister guaranteeing funding for the second stage of the Gold Coast light rail, while opening the door to more public funding for other public transport infrastructure.

But with Queensland a crucial state in the upcoming election for both the Coalition retaining power and Labor winning it, the Palaszczuk government has upped its attacks on the Turnbull government, falling out over tax reform and now, proposed funding cuts.

Senator Birmingham told Fairfax Media he supported the underlying principles of the Gonski model - which distributes more funding to schools with disadvantaged students - but that simply spending more money would not necessarily improve educational outcomes.

- With Matthew Knott

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