Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks to the media in Perth on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Labor's Metronet rail plan for Perth will be part federally funded if the opposition wins both the federal and state elections, Shorten says. (AAP Image/Rebecca Le May) NO ARCHIVING
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten speaks to the media in Perth on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Labor's Metronet rail plan for Perth will be part federally funded if the opposition wins both the federal and state elections, Shorten says. (AAP Image/Rebecca Le May) NO ARCHIVING REBECCA LE MAY

Labor has pledged to fund Gonski

FEDERAL Labor has pledged regional and rural schools will get an extra $1.8 billion as part of its $3.8 billion promise to fund the Gonski reforms.

The pledge came as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten visited Rockhampton, in the marginal seat of Capricornia, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull headed to Melbourne on the campaign trail.

In announcing the funding, shadow education minister Kate Ellis said it would help 1.5 million students at regional schools in 2018 and 2019.

Labor released figures this week breaking down the Gonski funding, including estimates of $66 million for Mackay, $35 million for central Queensland, $74 million for Ipswich, $49 million for the Sunshine Coast, $42 million for the Wide Bay-Burnett region, $52 million for western Queensland and $44 million for the Northern Rivers in NSW.

Announced earlier this week, the Opposition's $3.8 billion education funding pledge is at the centre of its campaign.

Education came up for Mr Turnbull too yesterday.

After visiting a company in the Labor-held seat of Hotham, the PM was approached by a woman who identified herself as Melinda and told him the government should do more to help mothers such as herself.

"I'm worried," she said.

"I'm a single mum. I have two teenage boys. Now the cost of schooling is going up and up and up and yet we're not getting any more money."

Mr Turnbull told her the government was "absolutely committed to your boys having the best education opportunities".

"We're spending more on school education than we ever have in the history of the Commonwealth," he said.

Mr Turnbull was also questioned about Dawson MP George Christensen's decision to repeat comments that he did not want any new refugees to settle in his central Queensland electorate.

"George is entitled to express his opinion," he said.

In Western Australia, the Labor Party disendorsed the candidate for Fremantle, Chris Brown, who was replaced by the city's deputy mayor, Josh Wilson.

Mr Brown was dropped after revelations he did not disclose convictions from the 1980s.


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