Senators need to know the facts about Birmingham’s dodgy funding figures


Education Minister Simon Birmingham must stop misleading his colleagues and misleading parents and school communities with dodgy funding figures as he seeks to ram his schools bill through the Senate, Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) Executive Director Stephen Elder says.

‘Senator Birmingham is providing his colleagues – even fellow cabinet ministers – with figures to bring to meetings with principals and school communities that are wrong.

‘His own department admitted in Senate estimates last month that they are the product of a flawed methodology.

‘How the Minister thinks he can get away with offering false figures to his colleagues, the crossbenchers and to school communities – and how Senators can cast an informed vote on his schools legislation – is beyond me.’

Catholic education compared the funding that primary schools will actually attract from the federal government under the existing model in 2017 to the funding they are expected to attract under the proposed model in 2018 for the Melbourne electorates of Higgins and Chisholm.

Higgins: 

14June_Higgins 

Chisholm: 

14June_Chisholm 

‘The volatility of the figures was staggering,’ Mr Elder said.

Mr Elder said figures for school funding in 2017 provided by Senator Birmingham used the Gonski 2.0 funding model and not the current formula – which will apply in 2017 – to present the illusion that funding for all Catholic schools will increase in 2018.

‘The starting point itself is distorted. By doing that he’s hiding funding cuts to schools in 2018 when the next model commences. The Minister’s modelling also includes notional central allocations from Catholic education authorities to schools that have been plucked out of thin air.

‘The results are just plain wrong. They cast a shadow over everything he has said about his Quality Schools package.

‘If he is circulating misleading material over something as fundamental as funding what else has he fumbled or fudged?

‘How can the Senate make an informed decision over his education bill?’

Further information: Christian Kerr, Media Adviser, 03 9267 4411 or 0402 977 352 

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