Rathjen warns of Gonski pain

Written By miftah nugraha on Senin, 15 April 2013 | 19.55

UNIVERSITY funding cuts to pay for Gonski reforms will hurt Tasmania more than other states, says University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen.

Professor Rathjen said the move, combined with budget cuts late last year, added up to more than $10 million in lost funding for the uni.

That would equate to more than 100 jobs, although the university would try to retain staff.

"We have to represent all of the state, so if we cut something then it's no longer on this island," Prof Rathjen said today.

"I've had a very sad and sorry meeting with senior executives … about what are our high priorities and what are our lesser priorities."

Prof Rathjen said it did not bode well for staff members who were in pay negotiations.

The Federal Government plans to cut more than $2 billion from Australian universities to contribute to the $14.5 billion needed to implement school improvement plans based on recommendations in a review chaired by businessman David Gonski.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne today said the school funding reforms should be passed through parliament before the September election.

The overhaul would otherwise be dumped an Abbott-led government.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard faces a tough legislative timeframe to get her Gonski funding changes through parliament, with only five sitting weeks left before the September 14 poll and more than 200 bills waiting determination.

Senator Milne, a former high school teacher, said the Greens would do "whatever it takes" to get the reforms through parliament, either by sitting later or through extra sitting weeks.

"Because I'm not prepared to have the school children of Australia held to ransom by an at-risk proposition," she told reporters in Hobart.

She warned against taking the school funding changes to the September 14 poll.

"If the Prime Minister said, 'Well if you vote for one side of politics, you'll get Gonski. If you vote for the other, you won't'."

The Tasmanian senator noted the opinion polls were showing the country was moving to the conservatives.

"That is a prescription for saying that school children around Australia are going to miss out for another generation."

-- with AAP

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