Things just won't add up: Qld and feds can't get Gonski done
GONSKI negotiations between the Queensland and federal governments have taken a dire turn - again.
Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten and his Queensland counterpart, John-Paul Langbroek, had a phone hook-up yesterday afternoon, with both sides emerging positive.
But the mood changed when Mr Langbroek discovered Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's office had sent a letter to the Premier's department not addressing any of Queensland's concerns about their share of Gonski.
Mr Langbroek told ABC Brisbane this morning he wants an extra $650 million from the Commonwealth, which has already put $2.47 billion on the table.
"I was on the phone to him yesterday afternoon at which (time) Minister Shorten assured me while we were nearly doing a deal, we had sorted out the money and all of those other things aren't problems that we have raised before in letters to the Commonwealth," he said.
"And at the same time, not only did we have the Prime Minister Tweeting in his very clever way that Queensland should just be signing up because the Commonwealth is giving us $3.8 billion, which is not true…
"…but we also had a letter that was received by the Director General of the Premier's department saying the Commonwealth weren't prepared to acknowledge any of the things that we raised in the letters to them over the past couple of weeks that were issues for Queensland."
Mr Langbroek said the Commonwealth had already done "special deals" with other states, including the ACT and Tasmania.
"We are putting in $1.8 (billion), we said we would be prepared to negotiate with them about us receiving more money to the quantum of $650 million," he told ABC.
"They said we are prepared to consider it but letters we have received tell otherwise."
Mr Shorten defended his side's stance but confirmed the Commonwealth would not increase the quantum.
"We are not going to increase the quantum of our offer but I'm not going to accept the characterisation that there is not extra money," he told ABC Radio.
He said he was willing to meet face to face with Mr Langbroek.