Release type: Media Release


NT Government rejects $375m offer for Better Schools


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Education
Minister for Workplace Relations

Minister for Education Bill Shorten has today written to the Chief Minister, Adam Giles to express his disappointment at his refusal to prioritise education in the Northern Territory.

As part of the Better Schools Plan, 190 Northern Territory schools were set to share in an extra $375 million benefiting almost 40,000 kids.

Unfortunately recent discussions between officials have made it clear that the NT Government is not prepared to meet its funding obligation of one-third under the model.

It appears that the NT Government is not willing to continue meaningful negotiations with the Australian Government, denying NT school children greater individual attention at school.

Negotiations between the Australian and the Northern Territory governments had resulted in an increased offer of $375 million (up from $300 million) over six years.

The revised offer was due to new information and up to date data being provided and taken into account by the funding model.

The decision taken by the Northern Territory Government is incredibly disappointing given the genuine and extensive effort made by the Commonwealth to make adjustments to the investments the Territory required in order to reach agreement.

This decision comes only two months after the Northern Territory Government’s budget revealed cuts to education expenditure over the next four years of around $250 million.

Minister Shorten has indicated in his letter to the Chief Minister that it is not the responsibility or intention of the Australian Government to fill that gap.

New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Tasmania as well as the national Catholic and independent sectors have all signed up to the Better Schools Plan.

This means 63 per cent of all Australian school students are now covered under the new funding model.

Negotiations are continuing with other states and territories interested in taking advantage of the Australian Government’s generous funding offer that will see an additional $15.4 billion in public funding for our schools over the next six years.

The Australian Government will continue meaningful negotiations with remaining states because our priority is to ensure every Australian school is a great school and every Australian child receives a world-class education.

To find out funding for individual schools please visit: