DATE: 14 February 2013
The nation’s education system will have to bear the consequences if funding does not change, the AEU said.
The union’s federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said the new federal government figures showed schools would lose up to $5.4 billion in funding over the next five years if there was no agreement.
“Not only will schools miss out on the additional funding that is urgently required, they will be hit by massive cuts.”
The cuts will happen if the state and territory governments do not reach an agreement with the Commonwealth on the Gonski review, Gavrielatos said.
“Cuts of this magnitude would mean the loss of thousands of teaching jobs, larger class sizes and severe cutbacks in education programs.
“The cuts would have a direct impact on the education that children receive. The worst affected would be children in disadvantaged communities who have benefited most from the temporary funding delivered through National Partnerships.
“The Gonski review found that the underfunding of education, and public schools in particular, is denying too many students a high-quality education,” Gavrielatos said.
He said an investment of an additional $6.5 billion per year was needed.
This funding is set to make “a real difference in public schools”, particularly in boosting achievement levels as well as improving the skills of teachers and the lives of students. But all these, together with teachers and additional funded programs, may be gone in the next few years if nobody acts on the review now.
It is almost one year since the final report of the review was released. “It is time for the premiers and territory chief ministers to sit down with the federal government and hammer out an agreement on new funding arrangements,” Gavrielatos said.
“Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also needs to reveal exactly how deep the cuts will be under a Coalition government.
“He has almost $3 billion on the table in cuts now and today’s figures show the total amount may be far greater,” he said.
Gavrielatos said in a separate statement: “Our funding system is broken and is failing our children and the nation as a whole. It makes clear that politicians must embrace this once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce funding reform consistent with the Gonski review’s findings.
“The federal government’s bill on school funding reform provides the platform for change,” he said.
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