The signing of a new schools funding agreement between the Federal and NSW governments on April 23 was an historic breakthrough after many years of campaigning. Like all settlements, the deal is not without its compromises, but what has been achieved is a new funding scheme that is designed to direct additional resources to those schools where they are most needed in practice, the public ed- ucation system.
Supporters of public education must now move into the next phase of the campaign “Guarantee Gonski”.
Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott and education spokesperson Christopher Pyne are threatening to scuttle the Gonski funding model if elected in September, indicating a Coalition Government wouldn’t support the plan unless every state and territory signs up to the Gonski deal.
We now know what we must defend. A clear message must be sent to the Federal Coalition: Act in the national interests, put politics aside and support the new funding agreement.
Supporters of public education are encouraged to contribute to the Gonski Guarantee campaign on Public Education Day, May 23, by emailing federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott via igivea gonski.com.au or phoning his office on (02) 9977 6411, or contacting their local federal Coalition MP or candidate to seek a guarantee to honour any Gonski agreement.
Meanwhile, other states and territories must also follow the lead set by NSW and sign up in order to make the funding deal a national agreement to benefit all Australian students.
It is important that the new funding model is legislated in the Federal Parliament by the end of June. Federation continues to call on all politicians to pass the legislation.
It must be noted, the cuts to the university sector announced by the Federal Government and the cuts to TAFE in NSW by the State Government to fund the new agreement can never be justified.