18 March 2014

The Prime Minister must today guarantee his Gonski broken promise does not result in the same cuts to jobs and schools we've seen in Western Australia replicated across other states and territories.

The Labor Government's six-year funding offer to Western Australia would have delivered almost $1 billion in additional funding to all WA schools, and would have locked in the Barnett Government into growing its funding over the six years.

Instead, Tony Abbott's broken promise on Gonski gave Colin Barnett the green light to cut $183 million and jobs from Western Australian schools.

These cuts include 350 teachers and 360 teaching assistants and a 30 per cent cut to support school programs for children with learning difficulties and literacy and numeracy programs.

Hundreds of supporters of a better education for our children rallied on the lawns of Parliament House today.

Before the election, Tony Abbott said he was on a unity ticket with Labor on education, promising that no school would be worse off under an Abbott Government.

"...we will honour the agreements that Labor has entered into. We will match the offers that Labor has made. We will make sure that no school is worse off." (Tony Abbott, Doorstop, 2 August 2013)

After the election, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education Christopher Pyne ripped that ticket to pieces.

State and Territories are now free to cut jobs and funding at schools, no matter what the Federal Government provides.

The Prime Minister has betrayed our schools, teachers and students by refusing to honour the six-year Gonski schools deal. 

Labor believes that every child has the right to a great education, in a great school, supported by our great teachers.

The Gonski reforms are about replacing a failing, unfair system with a model based on need, improving outcomes for vulnerable children, and better resourcing schools in areas of disadvantage. A funding model that bridges the divide between government and non-government schools.

The Prime Minister should stop playing his political games with Australian school students and teachers.

Labor will keep fighting the Prime Minister's cruel cuts to education, we won't let him forget his broken promise, and neither will thousands of parents, students and teachers across the country.