Rudd offers extra $3b if states sign up to Gonski reforms

Bill Shorten.
Bill Shorten. Rob Williams

AN EXTRA $3 billion could be on the table for Catholic schools across the country if the remaining states sign up to the Federal Government's Gonski reforms.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Education Minister Bill Shorten met with representatives from the National Catholic Education Commission on Tuesday.

The meeting saw Mr Rudd put the $3 billion on the table, with a proviso being the national body had to take the Commonwealth proposal to its state members.

While the bills for the reforms have already passed, in an effort to prevent them being repealed under a Coalition government Mr Rudd can extend the negotiation period to allow remaining states to sign up.

It is understood that after his return to Australia from Indonesia, Mr Rudd plans to meet with Premier Campbell Newman to progress the reforms in his home state.

Getting Queensland on board with the school reforms would mark a clear victory for Labor under Mr Rudd - a key achievement former prime minister Julia Gillard could not complete before being ousted.

However, the debate over school funding with Queensland has been a difficult one, and the new prime minister will be under pressure to complete any such negotiations before an election.

Mr Rudd said the commitment of Catholic schools to the reforms was a significant milestone, ensuring the 700,000 in the Catholic system would get access to the increase funding over coming years.

A catch for the Catholic schools deal was that the funding would only be secured if remaining states and territories, including Queensland, sign up to the reforms, forcing the Catholic sector to add pressure to state governments to sign.

Topics:  bill shorten catholic schools federal government gonski kevin rudd

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