Get on board with Gonski

Federation President Maurie Mulheron, left, at the Gonski Bus launch from Brisbane on March 1. The bus will cross NSW on its way to Canberra

With the Council of Australian Governments meeting (COAG) coming up in April, the Gonski campaign is back on the road with two buses working their respective way from Adelaide and Brisbane to Canberra and a third bus touring Tasmania, raising awareness of the many success stories achieved with Gonski funding and spreading the message that state and federal MPs should back the full funding package.

Representatives of the Western Australian and Northern Territory branches of the AEU will be joining Federation, Queensland and South Australian AEU members on the buses, bringing together all states and territories in the fight to secure fair and equitable funding for all Australian students.

At the AEU Federal Conference on February 26, AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe launched Getting Results 2, the second compilation of success stories from schools around Australia that shows what has been achieved so far with only three years and 18 per cent of the Gonski transition funding.

The campaign launches were well attended, with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill launching the bus in Adelaide while Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones attended the event in Brisbane.

AEU Federal Deputy President and NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron also attended the Brisbane launch and called on the Turnbull government to commit to fully fund the Gonski model. “The community expects the government to make Australian schoolchildren and needs-based funding the top priority rather than his planned massive corporate tax cuts,” he said.

The Gonski campaign buses launched from Adelaide and Brisbane are travelling through selected electorates in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and NSW before meeting in Canberra for a final campaign stop on March 22, bringing together teachers, students, parents and community members for an event on the lawns in front of Parliament House.

Along the way, the buses will be stopping at many of the schools featured in Getting Results 2, but while the report forms a key part of the campaign’s focus on success, the AEU is calling on all schools to submit their Gonski success stories so that these too can be collated, published and sent to state and federal MPs. The page to submit and view stories is here.

Despite overwhelming evidence of success, the federal government maintains its plan to end the Gonski funding model after 2017 and cut $4.4 billion in needs-based funding from schools.

One of the buses will visit the federal electorate of New England — held by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce — which, according to figures published by the Sydney Morning Herald, receives the second largest amount of Gonski funding in NSW. Despite this, federal National Party representatives are still arguing for an end to the Gonski funding model.

With NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes stating their commitment to achieving the full Gonski funding allocation that was agreed to by former premier Barry O’Farrell, the federal government will not have an easy time convincing the states to give up billions of dollars of education funding, and this campaign aims to encourage more MPs to be as outspoken in their support of Gonski funding.

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