Victorian teachers John Bell and Anne Ryan, Coomealla teacher-librarian Jackie Bertalli and daughter Liliana with the torch.

For as long as it takes

Bert Bertalli
Country Organiser

The Australian Education Union Gonski road trip has provided the Sunraysia community with another opportunity to pressure the Abbott Government to honour the full six-year Gonski schools funding agreement.

Teachers and parents from both sides of the Victoria-NSW border congregated on the old George Chaffey Bridge on February 26.

Coomealla High School teacher-librarian Jackie Bertalli said: “We desperately need Sussan Ley, our Federal MP, to tell Prime Minister Abbott to guarantee the full six-year Gonski agreement.

“All schools must be funded to a minimum-resource standard to ensure all children receive a quality education.

“By not committing to the full six-year Gonski agreement, Sussan Ley and Tony Abbott are abandoning our most disadvantaged children.”

Mrs Bertalli said Sunraysia schools were at risk of missing out on their share of $39 million in schools funding for the Farrer electorate in 2018 and 2019 if Mr Abbott refused to honour the six-year funding arrangement.

“The O’Farrell Government last year signed a six-year Gonski funding agreement that will deliver an additional $55.9 million to schools in the Farrer electorate alone,” she said.

“That Gonski funding, directed towards the students who need it most, will change lives.

“It will help ensure every child, no matter from what socio-economic background, can receive a quality education. All schools will better meet the learning needs of all students through more individual support and attention in and out of the classroom.

“It will mean more literacy and numeracy programs for the kids at risk of falling behind and more extension programs for our gifted and talented students.”

Mrs Bertalli vowed to keep the Gonski flame alive for as long as it takes to convince all governments to fund all schools beyond a minimum resource standard.