Abbott plan to end free public education must be rejected

22 June 2015

The Australian Education Union today called on state and territory governments to reject the Abbott Government’s reported proposals to stop funding public schools or force many parents to pay to send their children to them.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the Federation reform proposals showed Mr Abbott did not support public education.

“Not content with abandoning Gonski and cutting $30 billion from education, Mr Abbott now wants to either provide no money for public schools or end the provision of free schooling in this country,” she said.

"It is a fundamental right of every Australian to be educated in public schools free of charge and has been since the 19th century.

"Mr Abbott cannot be allowed to get away with abandoning the funding of education or charging hundreds of thousands of parents to send their children to public schools.

"First it was free Medicare under attack and now it is public education.

“This has nothing to do with improving education outcomes for children and everything to do with cost-shifting and privatisation.

"We need governments working together to ensure all children receive a high quality education. That can only happen through the full implementation of the Gonski funding arrangements.

“The problem that was so clearly identified by the Gonski Review was that governments were not working together closely enough to ensure every school was resourced to meet the needs of every child.

“Australia’s performance in education is falling and there are achievement gaps of up to three years between children of the same age from different backgrounds.

“Mr Abbott promised to honour the Gonski funding agreements and now every proposal he has put forward would see them ripped up and with it the goal of ensuring that all schools across Australia have the resources to educate every child to a high level."

Contact: Mark Robinson 0403 043151