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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7078

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (21:35) With approximately a doubling of funding for education in this country, with new and improved school infrastructure, with new libraries and halls, with more computers in schools than ever before, with extra funding to assist national partnership arrangements and with numeracy and literacy and the like, this federal Labor government has done more to assist schools in this country and the lot of school children than any other government has ever done before. But we did ask Mr David Gonski AC and his group of experts to lead the first national review into school funding in almost 40 years. His report was very clear. He said funding in relation to our schools is illogical, lacks transparency and is not focused on achieving the best results.

Recent results show that Australia has slipped from second to seventh internationally in reading and from fifth to 13th in maths, and one in seven Australian students is at risk of not achieving the levels they need to participate in the 21st-century workforce. That is why the Minister for School Education, the Hon. Peter Garrett, has commissioned Mr Gonski to go ahead with further modelling. But what Mr Gonski has already come up with does assist schools in my electorate. The modelling he has come up with recommends the introduction of a schooling resource standard with a set investment per student and with additional top-up on a needs basis for disadvantaged students, low-SES students, students with disabilities and Indigenous school students. The government has said it wants to legislate a model that will assist in the future. I urge the government to implement Gonski lock, stock and barrel. Three-quarters of the underfunding in this country is in state schools. Recently I attended the combined meeting of the Queensland Teachers Union for the Moreton branch, covering from Brisbane through Ipswich and into the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys, at Brothers Leagues Club in Ipswich, at the request of Steve Leese, the Queensland Teachers Union organiser. I talked with the teachers about Gonski and the impact and what they can do to agitate and irritate government at all levels in relation to this particular issue.

I urged the people of Ipswich and Somerset in March 2012, when the Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Senator Jacinta Collins, came to Ipswich, to get on board and made sure that parents, staff and teachers got behind the Gonski review. Senator Collins attended my old primary school, Ipswich East State School and Staines Memorial College, an independent Christian school in Redbank Plains.

Information I have received from the Queensland Teachers Union and the Australian Education Union indicates that my electorate would receive about $1,500 extra per student with enrolment figures taken from the 2011 MySchool website. Toogoolawah State School, in my electorate, would therefore receive an extra $269,000; Rosewood State High School, another $829,500; Ipswich State High, $1.6 million; my old high school, Bundamba State Secondary College, about $1.27 million; Bundamba State School, nearly $900,000; Redbank Plains State School, about $1.145 million; and Redbank Plains State High School—where the Ipswich and Western Corridor community cabinet will take place—about $1.85 million. I am not quite sure that those figures are exactly accurate, but that is what the Australian Education Union and the Queensland Teachers Union tell me in relation to the approach that Mr Gonski and his review committee of experts have taken. If that is the case, my electorate would receive considerable assistance via the implementation of the Gonski review.

I have received information from Llew Paulger, the principal at Redbank Plains State High School, who said to me:

The impact Gonski would have on our community would be truly transformational for our students, our local community and, if this was replicated across Australia, for our country in the world economy.

The same thing is said by Mr Lee Gerchow, the principal of Leichhardt State School, who made the point that the provision of continued additional funding under the Gonski recommendations would not only enable the continuation and sustainability of proven programs of improvement and success but also enable further things to develop. Both these respected school principals in this community are to be listened to. I urge the government to implement Gonski. (Time expired)