​Turnbull must back Gonski

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5 July 2016

The public has rejected Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to needs-based Gonski schools funding and want the Federal Government to implement Gonski in full.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that public opinion was clearly in favour of the full six years of Gonski funding - with post-election polling by The Australia Institute showing that 64 per cent of Australians wanted the new Senate to vote to keep Gonski.

Ms Haythorpe said all political parties and independent Senators should reflect in the next few days on the high levels of support for Gonski and opposition to Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts.

“Exit polling showed education was a more important issue for voters than economic management,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“There were strong swings against the Coalition in seats where the AEU ran a grassroots campaign on Gonski.

“Schools need the full six years of Gonski, which Labor and the Greens have already committed to, to ensure they have the resources they need for all their students.

“We need to move away from short-sighted cuts to the funding our schools need.”

“There is no alternative to Gonski’s needs-based funding model on the table.

“The Coalition said before the election that they will renegotiate funding with the States but has not given any details of how the new funding model will work.

“This was a pre-election fix, with no guarantees funding would be based on need, or that States would not be worse off.

“In fact the Budget Papers showed that public schools in Tasmania and the NT would actually have cuts to their funding after 2017.

“No State Government has backed the Coalition’s proposal, and independent and Catholic schools also support the full Gonski.

“We need politicians to back the evidence-based Gonski model, which sees increases in funding targeted to the most disadvantaged students.

“We know that Gonski funding is making a difference in States where it is being delivered directly to schools, but two-thirds of the extra funding is due to be delivered in 2018 and 2019.”

“Without the final two years of Gonski, many schools will not get the resources they need and their students will miss out on the help they need to achieve at school.

“Australia has huge gaps in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and these gaps are widening.

“Our pre-Gonski funding system ignored this and delivered some of the biggest increases in funding to schools which needed it the least.”

Ms Haythorpe said that the AEU’s fight for Gonski funding would continue beyond the election.