The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has urged remaining States to sign up for the Better Schools funding plan as a means of creating a more inclusive Australia.
Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said:
“Maintaining the current level of inequality in education resources is a recipe for social exclusion. We need to put a well-resourced, universal, free public education system at the centre of our nation’s investment in the future. This should be the cornerstone of a fair and socially just Australia. We would be all the poorer as a nation in the absence of this goal.
“We also welcome the recent endorsement of the Better Schools Plan by the Independent and Catholic sectors, noting that the priority should always be to redress the inequality of resources experienced by disadvantaged students wherever they might be going to school. We now need to see an endorsement of these principles by the remaining states.”
National President, Mr Anthony Thornton added:
“The right to education is a key ingredient for social inclusion. This is why the St Vincent de Paul Society has, from the beginning, been a strong supporter of the Gonski reforms. We call on both sides of politics to support education equality. We also call on both sides to maintain policies such as the Schoolkids Bonus, which is very helpful for low-income families in meeting some of the costs of education.
‘We wholeheartedly support the observation made by Mr David Gonski on the occasion of the release of his report last year:
“Australia must aspire to have a school system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and this means we must prioritise support for our neediest students as well as increase achievement for all. Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend.”’