ANGRY teachers have called on New England MP Barnaby Joyce to “step down” from his position, if he is not prepared to meet with them over alleged school funding cuts.
As the NSW Teachers Federation continues to protest over what they claim is $26.38 million in cuts to New England schools in the next two years, Mr Joyce remains firm in his belief that the schools are better off under the Coalition funding model.
New England teachers federation organiser Tim Danaher claimed Mr Joyce had either “declined or just not responded” to requests from local teachers to meet with him, or had not responded to correspondence.
“This is quite disappointing as Mark Coulton (Federal member for Parkes) made time to meet with Teachers and Principals from Gunnedah last week, who aired their concerns about the $43m that will be stripped from their schools,” Mr Danaher said.
Mr Joyce believed the concerns raised were part of a political campaign and the government’s new scheme was based on fact.
“Like GetUp, the Teachers Federation are running a political campaign which they are expected to do. They are anti-Coalition, as unions usually are,” Mr Joyce said.
“The facts are the Federal Government is delivering a real needs-based school funding model endorsed by David Gonski that is budgeted and paid for. Labor has no alternative funded plan.”
Mr Danaher said the alleged lack of engagement from Mr Joyce had dealt a “mighty blow” for schools in his electorate.
He said the debate was not a “battle between the unions and coalition” but a battle between parents, teachers and the community.
“Barnaby either does not have the capacity to defend his position or the willingness to support students with unmet needs,” he said.
“If Barnaby is not prepared to ensure all student needs are supported in his electorate then he needs to step down from his position and allow someone to stand who will. We call on Barnaby to meet with our rightfully concerned Parents and Teachers.”
Mr Joyce said the funding allocations for New England schools had been made public and he urged community members to view them.
““Families and schools can see exactly how they stand to benefit from our plan for themselves by visiting www.education.gov.au/qualityschools and clicking through to the schools funding estimator that uses official data,” Mr Joyce said.