Wednesday, 15 March 2017
FOLLOWING the visit by the Gonski bus in our region on Monday, I have been disappointed by some of the public commentary from Federal politicians about the nature of the campaign and the value of needs-based funding to our region’s schools and students.
To label the visit of the bus as a stunt run by the NSW Teachers Federation and the Labor Party, is not only misleading it’s mischievous – designed to divert everyone’s attention. As a State National Party MP, I wholeheartedly and proudly support the campaign, just as I support Gonski and the needs-based funding model.
This issue should be above petty partisan politics, it should only be about what is best for our next generation and their education.
I was incredibly proud when NSW became the first state to fully adopt the Gonski reforms, and have been a fierce advocate and defender of the funding methodology ever since. This is all about making the educational playing field more even – no matter where you go to school, how big your school or how disadvantaged you are.
I must also acknowledge the passion of Adrian Piccoli, who has continually championed these reforms and still passionately believes in their positive impact on rural and regional students. I feel we owe him a great deal.
I am delighted to report that the 59 public schools in the Northern Tablelands have received an additional $12 million in recurrent funding in the first three years of Gonski, and there’s a lot more to come. Speaking with principals across the region, there is no doubt in my mind of the benefits it is having in our schools and classrooms every single day.
I have and will continue to pressure the Federal Government to honour the commitment made by the Commonwealth to Gonski. The NSW Government signed a six-year agreement, not with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, or the Labor Party, but with the Commonwealth, to provide a truly fair and equitable funding model for NSW schools for six years – and beyond. This agreement MUST be honoured and the final two years fully funded!
Our kids deserve a bright future through the opportunities that Gonski provides – they shouldn’t receive second best as a result of living in a country community.