Western Australia’s education minister Peter Collier says the federal government should rip up any education funding agreements they have with other states – which he has accused of going “weak at the knees” in accepting the deals.
Federal education minister Christopher Pyne described the so-called Gonski reforms as a “shambles” on Tuesday, flagging his intention to consider a revised national funding model.
That has infuriated states and territories who signed up for deals with the former Labor government.
But WA, which refused an eventual offer of $900 million, said on Tuesday he was proud WA had not signed and accused other states of caving into the face of a “bucket of money”.
“It is necessary to reassess the situation, and look at a fair and equitable distribution of wealth,” Mr Collier said.
“The original offer to WA … was insulting and piecemeal compared to other states.
“But the biggest issue was the fact that embedded throughout were pieces of legislation that were going to make our schools reportable to the federal government and that was unpalatable.
“We need to go back to the drawing board on this thing.”
Education ministers are due to meet Mr Pyne on Friday and Mr Collier anticipated a fiery battle.
“I can understand why other states are upset, and why they went weak at the knees very early – but it came down to them compromising their principles for a bucket of money.
“I am sure there will be some very robust discussions, some very colourful negotiations, at that meeting.
“But I’d like to think we could sit around the table with the new education minister … and work out a much more equitable distribution.”