Federal Education Minister threatens to withhold education funding

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino has attacked his Federal counterpart over a letter demanding an agreement be reached regarding schools funding.

Mr Merlino publically released a letter he received from Dan Tehan, the Federal Education Minister. In the letter, Mr Tehan warns Mr Merlino that the Federal Government would be unable to provide funding to private and public schools for early 2019 unless a fresh deal was agreed to before the 7th of December.

Mr Merlino called it a “clumsy and unprecedented threat”.

However, Mr Tehan has responded saying that the letter was released “for political purposes” and that Victoria was the only state that was casting doubt over negotiations regarding education funding.

He said that no other education minister has brought up a problem with the letter and that he thinks Mr Merlino “wants to play politics”.

The Government was already close to finalising a funding deal before announcing a 4.5 billion funding boost to the private school sector.

That announcement has put funding negotiations into shambles and Mr Merlino said in a statement that because Mr Tehan was still new in the role as Education Minister he “doesn’t understand where negotiations are up to”.

He added that Mr Tehan was “essentially holding a gun to the head of states and territories” and that if he was really concerned about education he would “provide fair funding for every child” instead of inventing solutions “that pit one sector against the other”.

Tanya Plibersek, Labor’s education spokeswoman, said that the Government was using “bully boy tactics” and that “this is a new low even for Scott Morrison”.

She added that “Parents and teachers are right to be furious”.

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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