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Education, business support

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With the recently proposed Gonksi reforms, education will be in the spotlight for many Illawarra voters in the upcoming federal election.

The Illawarra Teachers Federation supports the Government’s Gonski school reforms, after years of campaigning for a fairer funding system for local schools.

Regional organiser of the Illawarra branch, Dennis Long, said the region’s schools most in need of funding had been missing out for decades.

“We are strongly supportive of the Gonski proposal and it’s our position that this should be in place well before the election,” said Mr Long.

“It should not become a political football between the parties.”

However, in order to fund the Gonksi reforms the Gillard Government proposed a $2.3 billion funding cut to universities.

UOW Law Student Society member, Mitchell Hay, said he was wary of cuts to higher education funding, since UOW generates around $2 billion annually for the region.

“Cutting school funding from universities seems a bit counterintuitive,” said Mr Hay.

“It’s hard enough for uni students at the moment and this wont make it any easier.”

Mr Long said he was also unhappy about the cuts to tertiary funding.

“We do call on the Gillard government to restore the funding because education is Australia’s future and that’s from preschool all the way through to university.”

Shoalhaven Business Chamber president, Warren Seccombe, said he would ideally like to see more support for small businesses from both sides of politics.

Words: LORIN REID

Audio/Visual: ANNA BADDELEY

Video: SHARRI LEMBRYK

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