Doorstop interview at Education Council, Adelaide
Labor’s corruption of ‘Gonski’; Future schools funding arrangements
23 September 2016

Journalist:        Alright Minister, well you’re hosting your state and territory counterparts. How did everything go overnight?

Simon Birmingham:     We had a very pleasant discussion last night and I’m sure that today we’ll have some robust conversations. The issues though, in relation to school funding, are that we have limited funds but growing funds available to us, funds that will grow from $16 billion of federal funding this year to more than $20 billion by 2020. And we are committed to make sure they are distributed fairly, according to need and equitably across the different states and territories. We also want to make sure they are used in a manner that actually achieves reforms in our schools.

Journalist:        Adrian Piccoli is saying any attempt to cut funding is a broken promise, how are you expecting to pitch that to him today and what did you say to him overnight?

Simon Birmingham:     Well a pot of money that grows from $16 billion this year to more than $20 billion in 2020 is a rather significantly growing pocket of money.

Journalist:        Academics are saying you don’t necessarily need the states and territories to sign on to any proposed changes. If you don’t get the result you need today are you still happy to push ahead with the things that you’re proposing without the states signing off?

Simon Birmingham:     We’re not looking for a result today. I’m looking for informed feedback and information from the states and territories about how we can improve a funding model that is not what David Gonski envisaged, that treats states and territories in very disparate and unfair ways, and how we can design something for the future that is enduring, that is fair, that is needs based, that is also affordable to the nation and is focused on how we derive real reforms in our schools.

Journalist:        Susan Close saying, extremely discourteous was the way she described the way you were canvassing the media, so I’m imagining a rather frosty reception overnight. How’s everything been going and what did you say to Susan Close?

Simon Birmingham:     Susan and I sat next to each other at dinner last night and had a great conversation.