On 28 June, the Australian Education Union (AEU), EI’s largest Australian affiliate, called on all political leaders to act in a spirit of bipartisanship and finalise agreements on the implementation of the Gonski Report on investment in education within the next two weeks.
Need for negotiations between federal PM and States’ public authorities
AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said he welcomed the commitment by new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to delivering fairer, more equitable funding arrangements for schools and a better education for children. “Mr Rudd understands the importance of investing more in education and targeting that funding to better meet the individual needs of students,” he stated.
Finding the extension of the deadline for implementing the Gonski review understandable in the circumstances, Gavrielatos said that the Prime Minister’s commitment needs to be matched by all state and territory leaders in the next few weeks.
He stressed that the task before Prime Minister Rudd is to proceed swiftly with negotiations to ensure the remaining jurisdictions sign on. “We need all Premiers and Chief Ministers to get on board with Gonski and for Tony Abbott to reverse his opposition to fairer funding arrangements”, he said.
Investing in public schools for quality education
“Prime Minister Rudd must act to ensure the benefits of additional Gonski funding flow to every school, especially public schools, as the Gonski Review recommended,” Gavrielatos underlined. “If we are serious about tackling disadvantage, we must ensure extra resources go where they are needed most – and that is overwhelmingly to Australia’s public schools.”
“Schools across Australia need the extra resources that Gonski would deliver”, he said. “Children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, urgently need the extra support that additional funding through Gonski would allow for,” he continued.
“All the experts acknowledge that we cannot continue with the current inequitable arrangements which are preventing too many children getting a high quality education,” Gavrielatos emphasised. “Gonski is an investment in our future – in stronger schools and better opportunities for children.”
Public authorities’ responsibility to guarantee free public quality education for all
“EI fully supports our Australian colleagues’ efforts to ensure that public authorities make the necessary investment in quality education in the country,” said EI President Susan Hopgood. “We also commend the new Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver appropriate funding arrangements in education and urge him to persuade local education policymakers to give extra resources to public schools.”