Bill Shorten, Labor, to fully fund Gonski education plan

Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Labor’s education policy will blow the opposition’s costings “black hole” out to $48 billion, as the Greens offered congratulated Labor for reaffirming their support for needs-based funding.

Labor plans to target tax-avoiding multinationals to help fund its ten-year $37.3 billion education policy.

Bill Shorten today pledged to fully fund the six years of the Gonski education reforms that former prime minister Julia Gillard agreed with state and territory leaders in 2013.

But the government has warned of the budget impact of the spending commitments.

“Unlike the Labor Party, we won’t be tricked into thinking that just spending more money automatically improves results,” Senator Birmingham said in Canberra.

“We won’t make the same type of mistakes that Labor have made before in promising money before you get commitments about how it will effectively be used (by state governments) to improve student outcome.

“We won’t make the same mistakes Labor have made in relation to the nation’s budget that drove Australia deep into deficit and where they have already, many months out from the election, racked up a $48 billion black hole in relation to Labor’s promises that are largely unfunded.”

Labor’s policy would be funded through policies already announced by Labor, including reaping $7.2 billion over 10 years by targeting tax avoidance by multinational companies.

Although the Opposition Leader accused tech giant Apple of paying “no tax” in Australia, the company paid $84.9 million tax last year.

Amid accusations that Apple had shifted its Australian profits into low-tax jurisdictions offshore, a company spokesman told The Australian: “Apple Australia pays all taxes it owes in accordance with Australian law.”

The Coalition government has been criticised for only committed to funding the first four years of the six-year Gonski plan, which directs funding to schools based on the needs of their students.