The letter’s signatories include former Greens leader Bob Brown.
The letter’s signatories include former Greens leader Bob Brown.

Prominent Aussies call for urgent action on Gonski Review

A GROUP of 36 prominent Australians have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and state and territory leaders calling for urgent action on the recommendations of the Gonski Review.

The letter's signatories include former governor-general Bill Hayden, eight former premiers and chief ministers, former Greens leader Bob Brown, and former Australians of the Year Mandawuy Yunupingu (1992) and Simon McKeon (2011), Nobel Prize recipient Professor Peter Doherty and leaders from a range of fields and groups.

In it they call on the nation's leaders to strike an urgent deal on overhauling the way education is paid for in Australia.

The Gonski Review called for an injection of an additional $5 billion per year in education funding.

"The Gonski Review makes clear the urgent need for change: we are slipping behind other major nations in education and there are growing gaps between the achievements of advantaged and disadvantaged students," the letter reads.

"Its recommendations provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the way we resource our schools and educate our children.

"We ignore it at our peril."

Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said there was a national consensus on the need to act on school funding.

"It is not just those in education who understand the need for a fundamental overhaul of the way we resource our schools," Mr Gavrielatos said.

"It is leaders from all major fields of endeavour as this open letter demonstrates."