The West

WA appears set to follow Victoria and opt out of Julia Gillard's proposed Gonski school reforms if Premier Colin Barnett is re-elected next month.

The prime minister vowed today to get an agreement on her $6.5 billion funding plan, despite Victoria announcing it would go it alone.

It says it can deliver better outcomes for students than the Commonwealth.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said he believed the federal government was a "small player" in education and heavily criticised Ms Gillard's style of negotiation with the states.

"We have never indicated we would sign up to Gonski," Mr Barnett said. "If the federal government has some proposal, they are very much the small player in education.

"We are not going to sit back and suddenly let the commonwealth take over the running of our schools."

Ms Gillard will meet state and territory leaders in April to discuss the new plan, and Schools Minister Peter Garrett will this week advise how much the commonwealth will contribute.

Mr Barnett, maintaining the anti-Canberra stance that has been a plank of his state election campaign, launched another broadside at the Gillard government.

"The style of Julia Gillard is to pick a fight with the states, run out to the media and pretend she has a solution," Mr Barnett said.

"They come out and denigrate our hospitals, denigrate our schools, and then pretend to have a solution.

"That is not good government."

The West Australian

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