Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown has called on the Gillard Government to heed the Gonski review calls and put in an immediate injection of between $5-10 billion into Australian schools.

“Peter Garrett has said there won’t be any loss of funding for any school but what he hasn’t said is what the additional funding will be for schools in need.

“The Gonski review is a huge opportunity for action. But only the Greens besides Gonski are saying that more funding is essential and how to get it.

“The Greens want to see and additional $5- 10b spent so Australia can begin to reach the average OECD Government spending on schools,” Senator Brown said.

“Like resource-rich Norway, a fair mining tax would make this easy to achieve.”

OECD figures:

Public funding of schools as % GDP: Australia 3%, OECD average is 3.5%

Highest nations – 4.9% Iceland, 5% Norway, 4.2% Denmark, 4.3% Belgium

To reach OECD average of 3.5% of GDP Australia needs a further investment of $7 billion.

To reach the highest levels of public spending in the OECD 5% of GDP Australia needs an additional $28 billion.

“Getting Australia’s public schools the injection of the funds they need has to be the first priority – it is a sector that has been underfunded by successive federal governments. Other funding should be based on need,” Senator Brown said.

• Greens back injection of funds for Tasmanian schools

An immediate down-payment of $120 million for Tasmanian schools would ensure that the state’s 83,294 students are leading the way when it comes to their education, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

“With close to 60,000 students enrolled in 202 government schools across the state, the Gonski Review’s recommendations would see much-needed investment in Tasmania’s public education system,” Senator Brown said.

“The 2011 Naplan results highlighted that Tasmanian students are faring below the national average when it comes to literacy and numeracy. A commitment to an immediate boost in funding for our public education system and poorer private schools must be a priority for the Gillard Government.

“The Greens are calling on the federal Government to act urgently and ensure a down-payment in this year’s budget for our public schools. Just to reach the OECD average of 3.5% of GDP Australia needs a further investment of $7 billion a year,” Senator Brown said.

Senator Bob Brown: • Let’s go! Gonski says the Government must boost funding to our schools

A high-quality, equitable, well-funded public education system striving for excellence is the guarantee of a healthy and productive society. Let’s go!, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

“A clear message from the Gonski Review is that, as a minimum, the government needs to invest $5 billion in our public education system. Australia is in the midst of a mining boom. We can afford to prioritise the education of our children with properly applied proceeds from the mining tax,” Senator Brown said in Hobart.

“In contrast to these recommendations for increased investment, an Abbott-led government would cut $2.8 billion in funding to our schools, including more than $700 million for improved teacher quality and support for low-SES schools.

“If you take a look at public funding of schools as a percentage of GDP, Australia is at 3%, lagging the OECD average of 3.5%, while the best-funded nations include Norway with 5%, 4.9% for Iceland and 4.2% for Denmark. Just to reach the OECD average Australia needs a further investment of $7 billion a year.

“The new funding model recommended by the Gonski Review would see significant new investment in public schools and poorer private schools and recognises the extra burdens faced by the public school sector in educating the most disadvantaged students.

“There should be a down-payment in this year’s budget demonstrating the Government is committed to real reform, particularly given literacy and numeracy and teacher quality national partnerships are ending this year.”