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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

Holding the line on education reforms

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Mullum High P&C vice-president Terry Timms, pictured right, with concerned citizens and parents protesting against the new Gonski reforms proposed by the Turnbull government. Photo Jeff Dawson
Mullum High P&C vice-president Terry Timms, pictured right, with concerned citizens and parents protesting against the new Gonski reforms proposed by the Turnbull government.
Photo Jeff Dawson

The saying goes that if you are reading this then thank a teacher. But local teachers, according to the Mullum network of Parents and Citizens (P&Cs), will be struggling with resources if the federal government’s proposed changes to educational funding go through parliament.

Public schools in the Brunswick Valley would lose up to $1.2 million in total funding over 2018 and 2019, they say.

P&C members gathered on Friday to show the community their support for the promised full Gonski funding at Mullum High.

Gonski funding is a ‘needs-based’ model, whereby the most disadvantaged students were provided with more resources.

And while it has been in operation for some years as a state and federal agreement.

Turnbull’s latest budget proposal would see a scaled-back version in the last two years.

P&C vice-president Terry Timms says the government is reneging on the deal.

NSW Greens education spokesperson and Member for Ballina Tamara Smith MP said her party doesn’t ‘accept anything less than the original model of needs-based funding proposed by the Gonski review panel.’

She said, ‘The fact remains that the Gonski recommendations – the first time around – were designed to keep our school system internationally competitive, improve the equity of student outcomes and better recognise different levels of need across all school sectors.’

And while the government has recommitted to the principles of Gonski, federal and state funding would become ‘simpler’ under the new plan. The government says federal funding should depend on need, not on where students live.

The Grattan Institute think-tank published their own plan last November, arguing that the coalition could deliver Gonski-style needs-based funding without more money, if it made some tough decisions about indexation and over-funded schools.

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