Following pressure from the states, it appears that the Federal Government has conceded that it will need to spend additional funds to implement its election promise to provide PCs to all year 9-12 students. Julia Gillard told Network Ten yesterday that the $1 billion allocated to the program could turn into a $2 billion plan.
WA Premier, Alan Carpenter, is quoted as saying "I made it quite clear at the last COAG (Council of Australian Governments) meeting that the Commonwealth had to understand there were other costs than just dropping the computers at the school...There were ongoing costs and that they should not expect ordinary people or the state government to fund their election commitments."
At the same time, the Victorian Education Minister Bronwyn Pike said yesterday that her government is willing to pay for the State's ongoing costs as part of the plan.
While insisting that the plan is still on track, the Ms Gillard conceded that it would require more than the $1billion over four years that was initially promised.
"We are working with our state and territory colleagues and the discussion we are having with them is about us putting an extra $1 billion into the vital task of getting computers in school, and in the delivery of that $1 billion, working with the states and territories on related questions like electricity supply, like, of course, professional development for teachers, like making sure that curriculum is there that embeds the computer technology into learning," she said.
Applications for the first round of funding, an initial $10 million, opened early in March. The program will provide computers to all students in years 9-12 over the next four years, with schools in greatest need allocated funds in the first round to June 2008.