14 June 2014

The NSW Nationals have formally called on the Abbott Government to keep its election promise to fund the full Gonski school reforms, ahead of the Acting Prime Minister, Warren Truss', address the Party's conference in Queanbeyan today.

While the leadership of the National Party in Canberra press ahead with $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals, country communities right across Australia know the devastating impact these cuts will have on local services.

"It's time Warren Truss stood up for country Australia, instead of silently backing the biggest ever cuts to our schools," Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis said.

"People in rural and regional areas are being taken for fools by the National Party."

The NSW National Education Minister Adrian Piccoli knows that country schools will pay the price for his colleague's failure to stand up to Tony Abbott in Canberra:

"Schools in regional areas, as well as disadvantaged and Aboriginal students, will be the hardest hit." (Adrian Piccoli, 14 May 2014)

"Instead of just backing Tony Abbott's cuts in regional Australia, Warren Truss should find his voice and stand up for country schools," Kate Ellis said.

The most recent analysis by the OECD shows that regional school students are on average almost a year behind city students, and remote students almost two years behind.

"Rural and regional students, who are already behind those in the city, will be hardest hit by Abbott and Truss' heartless and brainless attack on our schools," Kate Ellis said.

Country schools have the most to gain from the full implementation of the Gonski reforms - with additional support for remote schools, small schools, Indigenous students, students with disability  and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Government's $80 Billion cut to schools and hospitals will cut funding to every single school in Australia by $3.1 million on average.

"Tony Abbott and Warren Truss need to honour the full six year Gonski agreements and stop their $80 billion in cuts to schools and hospitals, so every student can get the education they deserve, no matter where they live," Kate Ellis said.