News National PM denies breaking school funding pledge

PM denies breaking school funding pledge

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied breaking an election promise by backflipping on a Labor-initiated school funding deal with states and territories.

The federal government said this week it would only honour one year of the school funding agreement – dubbed Gonski – and allocate $230 million in 2014 to states that did not sign up to the scheme.

The move has prompted outcry from signatories to the Gonski reforms, including NSW and Tasmania.

But Mr Abbott says it is not true his government has broken an election promise.

He claimed the coalition’s promise was to maintain the same amount of funding for schools over the next four years that Labor had put forward.

“This is a government which always keep its commitments,” he told reporters on Saturday.

Mr Abbott, who was at the Mater Hospital in Crows Nest to announce $82 million in funding for chemotherapy infusions, claimed he was doing better than the original election pledge.

“Just a few weeks before polling day, Labor quietly ripped $1.2 billion out of school funding, as admitted finally by the shadow treasurer just the other day,” he said.

“Now we are putting some of that money back in.

“We can’t put it all back in given the fiscal emergency we face but nevertheless we are putting $230 million back in that Labor ripped out.”

Mr Abbott said he was not concerned about legal action from states because the coalition was doing the right thing.