Teachers march for ‘Gonski’ to tell Newman to sign the deal

GIVING A GONSKI: Member for Lilley Wayne Swan and Labor candidate for Flynn Chris Trevor leading the rally.
GIVING A GONSKI: Member for Lilley Wayne Swan and Labor candidate for Flynn Chris Trevor leading the rally. Kelly Butterworth

THE pitchforks were left at home, but the rally was strong with placards and chants as Queensland Teachers Union representatives walked the streets of Emerald.

Teachers from Blackwater, Emerald and Tieri dressed in green for Gonski and were joined by Member for Lilley Wayne Swan, Labor candidate for Flynn Chris Trevor and central Queensland union organiser Barry Thompson on Friday.

Mr Thompson said the mining downturn was a big concern for the union.

"The full effects of the downturn haven't set in yet but it's a concern if small schools start losing pupils, they could, in turn lose a teacher," he said.

"That's one reason why Gonski is so important for central Queensland, they can use that extra money to hire a teacher, keep one that would have otherwise been lost or, if that isn't the case, spend it on resources or, really, whatever they need.


"Gonski allows schools to deal with their local problems on a local scale, they can fix the problems they're seeing themselves.


"It's sad that at the moment teachers take the money out of their own pockets and the State Government seems to be relying on them to do that, it isn't right."

Mr Swan said the turnout at the rally was admirable.

"We're here for a good cause and it's great to see the teachers showing their support for an undeniably important issue," he said.

"There's effectively three billion extra dollars of funding to be had across the state through to 2019, it's a lot of money for each school for additional resources.

"This is critical, and I can't for the life of me understand why the Queensland Government won't sign up."

The rally drew a crowd of more than 50 people including staff and students who were pushing for the educational reforms.

A QTU representative from an Emerald school said she believed signing up for the funding was a "no-brainer".

"I honestly don't understand why we haven't signed on, if it's good enough for the Victorian Liberal party, why isn't it good enough for Queensland?" she said.

"We need this extra funding, the teachers need it and the students need it. It's frustrating knowing the offer is there, yet we can't have it."

Mr Swan said the current mining downturn meant the funding was even more crucial to the area.

"It's so important for areas like this to get that extra funding. Times are hard in the mining industry and they need this, they need the money and most importantly they need the support."

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