Letter: Gonski scare campaign

Contrary to the scare campaign being peddled on schools funding by the union (Port Macquarie ramps up Gonski support with rally, 14/3), the Turnbull Government’s Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes policy will deliver record funding to schools that is needs-based and tied to evidence-based initiatives that will lift outcomes for Australia’s children.

I met with representatives of the Teachers’ Federation in Port Macquarie yesterday, and though we share the aspiration to deliver quality, effective education for students, we differ on a number of important points.

First, the union claim that funding has been cut is plainly incorrect. Schools funding under the Turnbull Government will grow from already-record levels.

The Turnbull Government is growing investment in schools from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020, on top of more than $14 billion the Coalition has been delivering for regional and remote schools since we came to office in 2013. That is funding above inflation and above enrolment growth projections.

Our funding growth means there’s no reason schools won’t be able to continue to support teachers and new or existing initiatives, such as specialist teachers or targeted intervention programs. 

We want to do away with the 27 different cosy deals Bill Shorten ran around the country stitching up before the 2013 election that one of the authors of the ‘Gonski’ report, Dr Ken Boston, recently labelled a “corruption” of needs-based funding.

Those “corrupted” current arrangements Bill Shorten authored means a disadvantaged student in a NSW school receives around $1,000 less federal funding per year than the exact same student would receive in other states in the exact same circumstances. We will replace those deals with a fair, transparent and needs-based model for allocating our record levels of funding.

While funding matters, what you do with it matters even more.

The Turnbull Government will tie our future funding to more than a dozen evidence-based ‘back to basics’ reforms in schools proven to boost student outcomes, such as minimum literacy and numeracy standards, recognition for teachers based on competency and achievement and early intervention for struggling students.

Luke Hartsuyker MP

Member for Cowper