Gonski win in ACT election

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17 October 2016

The return of the Barr Government in last Saturday's ACT election is good news for Gonski and public schools due to their commitment to fighting for the full six years of Gonski.

ACT schools would be $25 million worse off in 2018 and 2019 alone if the Federal Government succeeds in its plan to abandon Gonski.

AEU ACT Secretary Glenn Fowler said that both Labor and the Greens - who are likely to form a Coalition to govern - had pledged to fight for the full six years of Gonski funding for the ACT, but the Liberals in the ACT had not committed to needs-based funding.

The AEU asked the three main ACT parties to sign a pledge which, if implemented, would deliver real outcomes for the ACT’s public education systems and staff.

Along with fighting for the full six years of Gonski the pledge includes:

  • At least 15 new school psychologists in the public system (to address long-standing shortages in the ACT)
  • A guarantee that at least 70 per cent of public VET funding to go Canberra Institute of Technology (the ACT’s TAFE)
  • Continuation of funding provided in 2015 to reduce workloads and cap class sizes
  • Ensure delivery of promised school infrastructure upgrades, with heating and cooling solutions as a priority.
  • Recognise that any government’s priority must be to public education

Mr Fowler said the Greens had led the way by signing the pledge in full, and that Labor had shown good support.

"Labor has agreed to four of the six items in our pledge, although they have not been able to give a guarantee around CIT funding or school class sizes," Mr Fowler said.

The Greens commitment to guaranteeing funding for CIT is in line with the AEU’s policy around vocational education and would give CIT much-needed certainty around its future funding.

The Liberals failed to support the pledge, and have only committed to one of the items – infrastructure funding.

"It is perennially puzzling why the Liberals talk the talk about support for public education but then fall well short when it comes to listening to the expressed needs of our profession," Mr Fowler said.

“We need all parties to work to resist attempts to reduce the slice of the pie received by public schools, because this reduces our capacity to deliver for our students.