ELECTION: Candidates' education plans put to test

WHILE the states and territories are responsible for school education, the Federal Government still has an important role to play when it comes to providing leadership across important policy areas and funding. We asked our candidates how they would deliver a better education system.


David Norman (IND)

ALL universities and TAFE campuses in the region need support in attracting regional students and delivering training outcomes for students that are most likely to result in regional jobs. It is best for our students, families and local economy, if regional students are trained and then employed regionally if at all possible. To boost regional employment we need qualification and skills training relevant to this region. This includes trades and apprentice training. As the elected representative for Hinkler I will meet with all concerned educational and student bodies to assess their collective needs and collaborate with them on how they themselves see the best solution.

Of course federal and state funding will be a key component, though there are other academic, hierarchical and facilities improvements that can be implemented to boost student outcomes. The cost of training for students is too high, with many going into significant debt just to get a qualification, without any guarantee of a job. No student should have to go into debt to get training.

Again, as an Independent  I can work across political party divides to effectively instigate and negotiate good regional outcomes, regardless of which federal or state Party governs. As an Independent I can work with all other representatives from all levels of governance (without the usual political fighting), to get the very best outcomes for our regional students and their educators.

Keith Pitt (LNP)

FUNDING for local schools is increasing every year under the Coalition Government with funding for all 37 public schools in Hinkler increasing by around 50 per cent per student over a decade to 2029. You can see what long term funding is being provided to your local school at: www.education.gov. au/school-funding-estimator.

A number of local schools offer school-based apprenticeships and certificate courses for their students if that is an avenue a student wishes to pursue.

The principals, teachers and staff at all the local schools in the Hinkler electorate are doing their best every day for their students. Teaching can be a tough but rewarding career and I commend all of our local teachers for the great job they do."

The Coalition Government is committing an additional $60 million in the expansion of the Australian Apprenticeships Wage Subsidy trial, which will give more young Australians the chance to train locally. This has been a successful program with 19 apprentices being taken on by local businesses in the Hinkler electorate.

A new Skills Shortage Payment will boost existing incentives for areas of identified skills needs to support up to 80,000 new apprentices over five years.

I have been very supportive of the University of the Sunshine Coast and successfully lobbied for increased funding for bachelor places at the Fraser Coast campus.

There are an additional 150 bachelor places at the Fraser Coast campus this year and that increases to 210 places from 2020.

The Federal Government provides funding for public, independent and private schools.

Adrian Wone (IND)

IF WE could start again I would support an education system where a child is taken from the cradle to young adult education level. That is to say the schools would provide the child minding facility and early schooling. These should be staffed by appropriately trained personnel and paid teachers who will focus on developing mental and social skills to better prepare children for higher education. It is at this end of the education tree that we need highest teacher quality.

Having child care a function of the education system would dramatically reduce costs and would take the burden off families where both parents are forced to do paid work to survive.

Every child, public and private, should have allotted an equal amount of funding for education. If parents choose to send their children to private schools then they must be prepared to pick up the extra costs.

Education does not lead to employment. Employment is a function of the economy and that is why I am focussing on ways to grow a stable economy here in Hinkler. The only avenue available to us is to reinvent the sugar cane industry and make it a renewable energy industry.

Currently we are educating and exporting our best and brightest because we cannot provide the employment for them. Those who go through the system and cannot find employment are saddled with a large HECS bill that further compounds their situation.

I would consider making education the sole responsibility of the Federal Government.

Aaron Erskine (FACNP)

EDUCATION is as complicated as it is diverse and is one of the most important foundations for our nation. I was fortunate enough as a child to be exposed to many educational environments as both my parents were teachers. My father initially as a Dr (PhD), then Professor and Senior university lecturer and my mother initially as a school teacher and later a teacher of adult literacy. My parents have influenced my experience and view on education. I am adamant that our education system is not where it needs to be and requires state and federal government full bipartisan support to derive a national plan. I would like to see an education system that can rapidly adapt to match emerging and changing technology.

As a father of five with my eldest graduating Year 12 just last year, this is a very relevant question particularly in our region.

 Our institutions currently work with industry and need to further develop training and employment opportunities and relationships. We have a youth unemployment issue in Australia. We are removing some of the incentive for industry to work with educational institutions with the offering of 457 visas as one example. We need to be able to identify and predict skill requirements and shortages and respond in time to deliver appropriate outcomes. A strong education system, also leads to further career opportunities for academics.

Expanding the Fraser Coast University Campus would have fantastic flow on effects throughout our region and should be fully supported and facilitated. This should be driven in a way that also translates into employment in the region. Full fee paying international students is a lucrative market that also has positive flow on effects for our region. This has my full support where it does not prevent any willing and suitable Australian applicant from receiving a position.

I personally believe that schools should receive equal funding with provisions for tailored funding. Schools need to be supported in providing facilities suitable for their region and student requirements.

Anne Jackson (GRN)

OUR plan will promote lifelong learning by extending universal access to early childhood education, provide full funding to our public schools, and make university and Tafe free.

We will invest in training and re-skilling people to help build a more skilled, knowledgeable and productive workforce.

We will also invest in science, technology and innovation, and develop strategies for the future of work to address the challenges of automation and technological change.

I'm also concerned about the government's record of cuts to schools.

We must fight any cuts to our local schools and ensure that our public schools, teachers and students are fully supported through additional funding and resources.

Our plan will make Tafe and university free so that young people can receive the skills and knowledge they need to compete in the changing economy without being saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.

I would like to see Fraser Coast university grow and thrive.

Damian Huxham (ONP)

PAULINE Hanson's One Nation believes in an honest assessment of the problem and implementing much-needed changes.

We want to work with teachers, rewarding them as a highly valued profession, so that together, we put the interests of students and parents first.

We want to uplift the aspirations, spirit and performance of everyone in the system.

A logical starting point is in repairing the curriculum.

The system has lost focus on the core purpose of school education: to maximise the knowledge, skills and ability of every student, consistent with the hopes and values of their family and guiding principles of their nation.

Learn-to-read programs must include the explicit teaching of phonics.

High school English has become more like a tutorial in identity politics than the development of comprehension and writing skills and study of the great works of English literature. If students choose to pursue politics at university, good luck to them. But it shouldn't be compulsory during their school years under the fraudulent banner of English.

Of course, education is largely the responsibility of State Governments and a non-biased, non-political approach is needed by all levels of government if we are to reach the levels of education deserved by our students.

We know One Nation will not form government in this election, but what we can do, (like we did with the recent One Nation Apprenticeship scheme that the government adopted and implemented), is to ensure whatever legislation put forward in this regard is put forward with the best interest of Australians at heart.

Without Federal funding to private schools, our public school system would be even more overwhelmed than it already is as it would be too expensive for many parents to send their children to a private school which would create a major increase in public school enrolment.

I do, however, believe that there needs to be a better balance between public school and private school funding with public school funding being the priority.


Llew O'Brien (LNP)

THE Liberal National Coalition is ensuring record funding commitments for schools here in Wide Bay. We're delivering needs based funding, backing the full implementation of NAPLAN so parents and teachers get transparency on student progress, and we are working with the State Government to improve results for all students.

We're investing over $58 million to pilot local Industry Training Hubs, including one that I have secured for Maryborough. We're also providing vocational education and training scholarships to help young Australians gain the skills they need to secure a job. The Hub will strengthen partnerships between local schools, employers and industries, and ensure that vocational education and training (VET) programs are tailored to meet our local workforce skills demands.

The Liberal National Government will build on our existing support to the VET sector by implementing a $585 million package.

I'm a strong supporter of the Fraser Coast Campus. I successfully fought for an increase to the student load funding which helped to secure the future of the campus and enabled it to offer the courses and places that Wide Bay needs.

Tim Jerome (IND)

I CAN speak as an expert in this field because I have worked as a teacher for the past 16 years. The public school system needs a total overhaul. We have students leaving school without a proper education. The problem is not with the teachers the problem is with administration and the powers that make new policies.

The problem stems from the fact that teachers are not allowed to have quality time to teach, instead teachers are dealing with behaviour manage problems.

Subjects offered to high schoolers should be in line with the region. More Ag subjects need to be on offer to our schools. Eleven and twelve students who are not going on to higher education need to be offered more trade based or ag based subjects.

From Year 10 students should be given subjects that they have an interest in and can go on to get a trade with. At the moment students are misbehaving and school is just a social club as they find the subjects are not applicable. I hear over and over again "why do I need learn this for, I won't use this in the real world". They are right we waste so much time in trying to teach students those things they have no interest in. I believe we need to have an Ag university for the region, and I will be pushing for this.

Jason Scanes (ALP)

THE Labor Government will be investing more than $20.5 million in funding for state schools in the Wide Bay.

Teachers and schools are going to be better resourced to deliver quality education for our kids.

To ensure education can lead to employment opportunities, I will make sure that the education we deliver is tailored to the skills needed in this area, particularly tertiary education.

That includes jobs such as aged care and manufacturing.

Obviously cuts to school funding are our biggest concern.

Working with a Labor State Government I would be well positioned to get our fair share of Federal Government funding invested into our schools and tertiary system.

The Labor Party has announced a $1 billion investment into fixing the broken and dismantled vocational and Tafe system.

That includes $200 million to fit out and fix up existing Tafe campuses as well as upfront fees for 150,000 Tafe positions.

I support the expansion of the Fraser Coast university campus to make sure kids can stay in the local area.

I don't think we should be cutting funding to state schools and increasing funding to private schools.

Private schools still deserve a share but in low socio economic regions we need to make sure people who can't afford to send kids to a private school can send their child to a quality school that is well resourced.

Daniel Bryar (GRN)

THE Greens' plan will fund unlimited free TAFE and undergraduate university for everyone, increase Youth Allowance by $75 a week, and boost uni funding by 10 per cent, so everyone can get a access to a world-class education. We are also committed to extending universal access to early childhood education and full funding of our public schools

Invest in initiatives like the Gympie TAFE Trade Training Centre at James Nash SHS that provide job ready youth with Cert I/II qualifications straight out of school. Providing job-ready workers to small business takes a huge risk away from them and actively encourages more employment where productivity gains can be realised sooner.

Education must be treated as the foundation for life rather than a box to tick and a grade to reach. Curriculum must keep up with changing demands of the economy. The funding cuts from the current government have placed a massive strain on the resources of our education providers and we are committed to reversing these cuts.

As above, the Greens' plan will fund unlimited free TAFE and undergraduate university for everyone.

Private schools play an important role in delivering education to families throughout Australia but we believe funding for public schools should come first. The recently announced $1.2bn for private schools should instead be put in to public schools where less than 1 per cent are fully funded at present.

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