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Govt trying to drive Gonski divide: Labor

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham is accused of trying to divide and conquer states over the uncertain future of Gonski school funding.

Senator Birmingham drew fire on Tuesday after again suggesting political wrangling meant various Gonski deals were riddled with inequality.

Students in government, Catholic and independent schools across the country were receiving vastly different amounts of federal funding based on the state they lived in, he told The Australian.

He labelled the scheme unacceptable and argued similar government and non-government schools should be treated consistently by the Commonwealth regardless of their location.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek argued his comments were a deliberate distraction designed to divide the states.

"All he's doing is trying to distract from the fact that his government is set to cut about $30 billion over the next decade from our schools," she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Every child in every school in every system in every state would be worse off under what Senator Birmingham was proposing, she said.

What state education ministers were interested in was getting the funding they were promised, especially for years five and six, Ms Plibersek said.

The federal government has promised to offer a final schools funding deal to state and territory leaders at the Council of Australian Governments meeting early next year.

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