Greens call to increase funding for public schools
GREENS Senator Larissa Waters said investment in public education is not a cost but an investment.
"The federal government have cut billions from public schools while giving an extra $4.6 billion to private schools," she said.
"It's not right. Here in Gladstone 18,500 children, or three quarters of our kids, are in public schools.
"We'd like to see their schools fully funded and that would amount to $37 million over the next four years."
Ms Waters added that costs for university and TAFE education had also escalated.
"We've got about 5000 people here in Gladstone who go to university and TAFE as well," she said.
"We're seeing kids graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt for their education.
"It used to be free in this country and half the parliament got their education for free, but now they're making it more expensive for kids to get an education.
She said changes were needed to fund public education.
"We could fund free undergrad university and free TAFE for the whole country if we change some of the tax rules that make it easier for big coal corporations to reap more profits that they frequently send offshore," she said.
"We've done the figures, we've had them all costed, as a nation we can afford this.
"If we want to keep our regions strong and ready for the skills we're going to need as the economy continues to change, we have to encourage people to do TAFE or Uni courses and we have to make it affordable for them to do it.
"It's an investment for making our economy stronger for all of us into the future."
Ms Waters hosted the Class Act public discussion on Friday evening.
Queensland Teachers' Union organiser for Central Queensland, Dan Coxen and local teacher Penny Allman-Payne also spoke at the forum.