AEU conference to hear of Gonski success


22 February 2017

This year’s AEU Federal Conference will hear about huge benefits being delivered by Gonski funding and how the AEU’s campaign to stop Malcolm Turnbull’s Gonski cuts will be ramped up this year.

AEU Federal president Correna Haythorpe said this year would be crucial in the fight for Gonski – with Malcolm Turnbull attempting to strike a new deal with the states and territories as early as April’s COAG meeting

“The evidence that Gonski is making a difference to schools is overwhelming, with extra resources lifting results and changing lives,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Yet Malcolm Turnbull is still trying to scrap Gonski after 2017, a move which would effectively end needs-based funding and stop $3.8 billion in resources going to schools.

“This would mean no public school would be funded according to student need after 2017, and many schools would never meet minimum resource standards.

“Malcolm Turnbull knows this funding is urgent, he knows it is working so why is he saying no to disadvantaged students?

Ms Haythorpe said the conference would be addressed by two students who had benefited from Gonski funding at their schools.

“These are just two of the thousands of individual stories of success that have resulted from Gonski funding.

“Two-thirds of the extra funding our schools need is due to be delivered in 2018 and 2019, so the fight for the full Gonski remains incredible important.”

The conference will also hear about the next phase in the AEU’s campaign to deliver the full six years in Gonski funding to schools, as well as the AEU’s other campaigns including the Protect Our Preschools campaign for guaranteed access to early childhood education for all four-year-olds, and Stop TAFE Cuts, the fight for investment in public vocational education.

Despite the evidence of the amazing benefits of quality preschool, we still do not have secure, permanent funding for the 15 hours per week that four-year-olds need.

The Federal Government’s decision not to guarantee funding beyond 2017 means that children are at risk of missing out on this vital start to their education.

Investment in TAFEs has been slashed in recent years as federal and state governments pushed a flawed privatisation agenda, and introduced the disastrous VET FEE-HELP scheme, which has seen private operators make huge profits at taxpayer expense while driving down the quality of courses.

The AEU wants a minimum of 70 per cent of VET funding to go to TAFEs, to guarantee quality and accessibility in the VET system.

“Strong public education, from early childhood, right through to post-school education and training, is vital for our future. Only high-quality, accessible public education can provide opportunities for all Australians to reach their potential,” Ms Haythorpe said.

In addition, life memberships of the AEU will be presented, as will the Arthur Hamilton Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

For the latest on what has happened at the Conference – including video, photos and speeches check out the 2017 Annual Federal Conference page.