SUBJECT: Gonski education funding
TUESDAY, 14 MARCH 2017
SUBJECT: Gonski education funding
JOURNALIST: What’s the aim of this large green bus?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: The Gonski campaign is so important and Jason Clare and I are so happy to be here supporting the cause today. You know, every challenge we face here in the Hunter, particularly youth unemployment and intergenerational unemployment comes back to the strength of the educational and school system. The best way of breaking those cycles is to make sure we resource our schools sufficiently to make sure every kid who comes with a challenge is picked up early and given the resources to make the very best with their lives and that’s all about of course securing a job.
JOURNALIST: And this is the method you think will deliver the funding and resources?
FITZGIBBON: I laugh when people say it’s not just about money. Ultimately it is. You have to give schools the money and the resources they need to identify kids early and then to present and introduce programs they need to break that intergenerational unemployment cycle. And of course it’s also for those kids who have big aspirations and making sure they have the resources they need to reach their full potential. Gonski is so important, not just to our society, not just to our economy but to our local communities.
JOURNALIST: As we know in an area such as this, there tends to be high unemployment in some times, as mining booms and falls, how important is education in an area like this?
FITZGIBBON: We need to spend less time worried about how the kids now in the future about how they are going to get unskilled jobs. We need to make sure they are ready to get skilled jobs and that’s what Gonksi is all about. It’s just not good enough to say, well we need unskilled jobs for our children in the future. No, we want them to have the skills to reach their full potential and to maximise their contribution to our local economy and communities.
JOURNALIST: What is the message to Malcolm Turnbull?
FITZGIBBON: Well the message to Malcolm Turnbull is to get your head out of the sand, stop listening to fools like Barnaby Joyce and recognise the pathway to a prosperous Australia with stronger communities is properly resourcing our local schools.
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, MEMBER FOR BLAXLAND: Adding to what Joel was saying, more and more of the jobs created today require TAFE qualification or a university degree. More and more of the jobs today are skilled jobs. I think I’m right in saying that around 60 per cent of the jobs created in the next 10 years require a TAFE qualification or a university degree. Unless you finish school and go on to TAFE or university, it’s much, much harder to get a job, whether you live in the Hunter or in Sydney, Melbourne or the other side of the country. That’s why Gonski is important. Ultimately it’s about jobs and making sure all of our kids can get a job, a well-paid job into the future. If the Liberal Party really cares about jobs and growth, then fund our schools and fund our kids. That’s what is going to help to set us up for the future.
JOURNALIST: An area like this isn’t too dissimilar to your electorate in terms of families relying on these public schools for their kid’s education.
CLARE: Yes and also the lower proportion of kids finishing high school than other parts of the country. We have set ourselves a national target, we did that when we were in Government, that 90 per cent of kids finish high school by 2020. We are on the way to achieving that. But in some parts of the country like Mosman and the other 95-96 per cent and other parts it’s lower. Remember what I said a moment ago. If most of the jobs being created now require you to finish school, and if our kids don’t finish school then it’s going to put kids in the Hunter and in Western Sydney where I am from at a real disadvantage. That’s why Gonski is important. It’s about putting the money where it is needed most. It’s need based funding. It’s funding the schools that have kids who need extra help to make sure they don’t fall behind or fall out and they go on to finish high school, TAFE and uni and get a great job, hopefully here in the Hunter.