Chesters calls on Senator to commit to original Gonski during visit to Bendigo

The Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has called on Senator Bridget McKenzie to commit to fully fund the original school funding agreements made with the Victorian State Government during her visit to Bendigo today.

Previous claims by the Liberal National Government that their “new needs-based funding model will increase funding to schools in the Bendigo electorate” is stretching the truth.

The Liberal National Government’s new funding arrangement for schools is not “needs-based” and the Liberal Government should withdraw that claim.

Schools like Lightning Reef Primary School, which covers some of the suburbs with the lowest SEIFA index in the state, will receive an extra $34,500 next year.

This figure is nearly $100,000 less than what Lightning Reef would have received next year under the Gonski needs-based funding scheme, formalised between the Federal Government and the Victorian Government in 2013 through the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA).

In fact all Bendigo electorate public schools are worse off under this Liberal National Government funding model.

Kennington Primary School will receive $73,900 next year - $400,000 less than was arranged under the NERA, and Bendigo Senior Secondary College will receive an estimated $1.2 million less than it would have under the original plan.

“Further, the Liberal National Government figure of 66% increase is fictitious. It ignores the 2013 agreement between the Federal and State Governments,” said Ms Chesters.

"If Labor was in Government this funding would not have been cut.  Labor would have provided this vital funding to these schools by scrapping the $65billion dollar tax cuts for big business.

“Not all communities, families and therefore, schools are equal. There are significant pockets of disadvantage across Bendigo where parents and carers are struggling to buy uniforms and provide lunches for their children to attend school. Their ability to pay any form of school fee is non-existent.

“That’s why Labor’s needs-based funding plan, the original Gonski, invested significantly in these schools - to give the kids a chance to break intergenerational poverty.

“I call on the Senator during her visit to Bendigo to commit to deliver every dollar to Bendigo electorate schools as promised in the 2013 National Education Reform Agreement (NERA),” said Ms Chesters.