Caption: From left: Anna Brown, Bryce Wilson and Bronwyn Lochrin outside Peter Hendy’s office in Queanbeyan.
By Bryce Wilson, President Jerrabomberra P & C (Delegate, Federation Of NSW P&Cs)
A group of P & C and teacher representatives presented recent Reachtel Polling data to Peter Hendy’s office in Queanbeyan at lunchtime on Friday 22 April. It should make for some sobering reading for him.
On the upside, the results are 51: 49 (two party preferred) to the Liberal Party. However, there are some strong messages contained in the polling that Hendy can’t ignore. Sixty percent of all voters in the poll supported the Gonski funding and 8.4 percent of Liberal voters are prepared to switch their vote if Gonski funding is not included in the Budget.
The poll was commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation in the electorate of Eden-Monaro. It revealed voters care deeply about education and they want Malcolm Turnbull to fund the final two years of the needs-based school funding model now universally called Gonski after the report that first recommended it.
The poll shows voters across all voting ‘intentions’ overwhelmingly support the continuation of the Gonski funding program in the May budget and beyond.
This is likely due to the results we are starting to see on the ground around our region as a result of the gradual implementation of this funding. School community members are seeing first hand that targeted investment in reading skills, in science resources, and in student wellbeing are starting to lift their child’s or school’s performance.
Local parents and teachers will continue to rally and press home this message to Mr Hendy. Local parents support giving Australia’s kids a fair go and they’re expecting the Coalition to lock in this fair go and to fund the last two years of Gonski
And the take home for Mr Hendy from this poll is that the Coalition-held seat of Eden-Monaro could be lost if the Turnbull Government fails to do just this. Sobering indeed.
NEWS FLASH: Budget update: The federal Coalition has announced it will partially make up the Abbott Cabinet funding shortfall that affects the Gonski reforms taking place in schools, but is imposing conditions on the states and territories at the same time.
A $1.2 billion increase will cover the 2018 to 2020 final Gonski years as well as an extra year. This signifies a 3.6 percent annual increase formula, compared with the 2.5 percent cost of inflation formula previously used under Abbott.
In contrast, the Labor Opposition has committed to full funding of the final Gonski years as originally planned, to the tune of $4.5 billion.
Political pundits are foreshadowing a major election fight over education as a result.