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The Hon Tony Abbott MHR

Leader of the Opposition

15 July 2013

Dear Principal We write to you to regarding the future of school funding arrangements. As you would be aware, the Coalition has deep reservations about the Governments proposed new funding model. As a school principal, it is crucial you know how much funding your school can expect over the next three years and the Government doesnt seem to want to answer this question. This is because the Federal Budget does not reflect the claims being made about additional funding. In fact, over the next three years, Commonwealth funding for schools and universities across Australia is less than it was last year. The Budget figures are in black and white and weve included them for your information. If Labors model is allowed to start next year, it wont actually deliver extra funding for another five or six years this could be three Federal elections away. Until then, Labors model will cause Federal funding for schools to be lower. If we really want to improve education outcomes in Australia, schools need a stable, viable and long-term funding methodology that allows them to focus on the things that matter; quality teachers, a robust curriculum, and a greater say for school communities. That is why we are writing to let you know our plans to get this issue right. If elected and there is no national agreement on school funding (and thus far only four out of eight jurisdictions have signed up), the Coalition will move to delay the start of the proposed model by one year. This will give everyone the time to consider how properly to implement the recommendations from the Gonski report in a lasting way. Under a Coalition government, we will make sure schools are not worse off.

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Tel (02) 6277 4022 Fax (02) 6277 8562

If Labor and the Greens use the Parliament to stop our plan to delay the new model, the Coalition will allow it to operate for one year (until 2015) while we work out how to get the model right. That will give all schools the chance to see the first-hand effect of Labors plan for themselves and what it means to you. Most importantly, we believe that improvements in education outcomes should be driven comprehensively via a number of approaches that are not simply limited to debates about funding and money. The last six years under a Labor Government has demonstrated that the injection of more money is but one part of an important equation we know this is the case as student education outcomes have actually gone backwards despite increased funding. Our focus will also be on policies to help boost the performance of teachers in the classroom, while giving principals and schools the opportunity to have greater autonomy and more parental engagement. A Coalition government will reverse any of Labors changes that add to the already high regulatory and compliance burden experienced by schools.
Yours sincerely

TONY ABBOTT Leader of the Opposition

CHRISTOPHER PYNE Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training