John Williams says he is likely to support Gonski 2.0 in senate.

Senator John Williams

Senator John Williams

GOVERNMENT funding packages are not the answer to boosting student test scores, a New England politician has claimed.

In the lead up to a senate vote on the federal government’s new school funding package, Nationals Senator John Williams says the fix to problems in our schools is free.

While the veteran politician admits he would “probably support the package” in the senate vote this week, he believed there were other answers to problem.

“I’d probably support the package in the way it’s being presented,” he told The Leader.

“But I’m cynical in saying that money is not the whole and sole answer. I believe respect, discipline and in some cases more parental involvement in the classroom are better and those three can produce consistent results.”

Senator Williams said his office had fielded some calls in the government’s Gonski 2.0 proposal, which the government claims would see a boost to funding in schools over the next ten years.

“When you think about it, over the last ten years the federal government has increased funding to schools by 66 per cent in real terms,” he said.

“I think it’s a case that money is not the answer. It annoys me that this whole education debate is about money.

“Over the years we have poured billions and billions of extra tax dollars into education, while literacy and numeracy has gone down and down compared to the (rest of the) world – even with that extra money.”

Mr Williams said while he was yet to have a closer look at Gonski 2.0 he believed opposition to the package stemmed from broken ‘promises’ by the former Labor government.

“They were simply playing a political game,” he said.

“The opposition promised all this money, they knew they were going to lose the 2013 election,they promised all this money knowing they would never have to deliver it.

“It was never funded, it was never in forward estimates and never in the budget.” 

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