Education Minister Peter Collier's financial management will come under the spotlight today when a powerful subcommittee of Cabinet runs the ruler over his department at an urgent meeting.
It emerged last week the Education Department had blown its budget by $60 million last year as speculation swirled that cuts to teaching and administrative staff were soon to be announced by the Barnett Government.
The West Australian understands an extraordinary meeting of the economic and expenditure review committee has been called for this morning to look at how to reconcile the department's budget.
It is not known whether the committee will want cuts to the budget or to inject extra funds to prop it up.
The meeting will add to pressure on Mr Collier, who has been under fire over project cost blowouts from his time as energy minister.
These include the botched refurbishment of the Muja AB coal-fired power plants near Collie and the solar subsidy.
Chaired by Treasurer Troy Buswell and including Premier Colin Barnett, the committee assesses spending decisions with advice from Treasury before they are presented to Cabinet.
The Government declined to answer questions about the meeting, saying it "does not comment on the workings of EERC".
Shadow education minister Sue Ellery said it beggared belief the EERC was being convened to consider a key department's accounts so soon after the State Budget was supposed to give a clear snapshot of them.
"Are we now to think that within 10 days of the Budget they are having an emergency meeting to reconsider details of it," she said.
Ms Ellery also called on the Government not to make "cuts at the school level" to rectify the department's bottom line.
'Within 10 days of the Budget they
are having an emergency meeting to reconsider details of it.'"Shadow education minister
- Sue Ellery *