18 November 2015

Ms TRISH DOYLE (Blue Mountains): On 14 November the Blue Mountains Unions Council held an inspiring Politics in the Pub forum at the Katoomba Family Hotel. The focus, most positively, was about Gonski funding and local schools: Gonski Gold—Kids that Shine! The forum highlighted the very practical difference that Federal Labor's needs-based funding model is making for all Australian children—wherever they live, whatever school they attend. Michelle Barlow, who is the fabulous Australian Education Union Gonski coordinator for the Federal electorate of Macquarie, spoke about the grassroots campaign in the lead-up to the next Federal election.

Jennifer Boyall, the principal of Katoomba High School and an educator with 20 years experience, spoke passionately of the flexibility of Gonski funding—what it meant in practice for children at school, and the capacity to assist them to achieve their potential. Gary Zadkovich, the deputy president of the New South Wales Teachers' Federation, was another guest speaker. Gary is a committed and articulate advocate for equality in education and the continuation of the Gonski model. I pay tribute to the many principals, parents, teachers, support staff and community members across the Blue Mountains who proudly and loudly don their "I give a Gonski" T-shirts and caps with flair and energy, calling for increased and needs-based funding for education.