Every child has the right to an education of the highest quality every day. That is what Labor believes and what has always guided us in the decisions we make.
Unfortunately, this government’s neglect and inaction has led to widespread teacher shortages which are having a detrimental impact in schools every single day.
If nothing is done these shortages will only worsen and more children will miss out.
At a time of rising enrolments there has already been a 30 per cent slide in the number of people studying to become teachers. Sixty per cent of teachers say they plan to leave teaching within five years.
This is a crisis that this government created and has no plan to fix.
It is a government that won’t listen to teachers, won’t address the real causes of the shortages and is unwilling to take the decisions necessary to secure the teaching workforce we need for the future.
The ongoing attempt by the Government to impose a three year Award on teachers at 2.53% on teachers while also failing to act on the excessive workloads experienced by teachers is wrong and will make an already bad situation worse.
This will not be the approach of a Labor Government. We are committed to putting forward a comprehensive education plan in the lead up to the March election.
We will listen to teachers and we will work with the union to address the teacher shortages and the crippling workloads that are forcing more and more people to walk away from the profession.
Over the last 10 years, the Liberal-National Government has undermined the independence of the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). Labor has already committed to scrapping the Perrottet Government’s wages cap.
If we are elected in March, Labor will also instruct the Department of Education to immediately begin negotiations with the union. We expect a full bargaining period with a view to reaching a comprehensive agreement to reduce workloads and make salaries more competitive while protecting the NSW budget.
This can be achieved, if necessary, with the assistance of an independent Industrial Relations Commission who will have the capacity to assess salaries based on the changing nature of teachers’ work and its value to our society, using an interest-based bargaining framework.
The Crown Employees (Teachers in Schools and Related Employees) Salaries and Conditions Award would be reopened to reflect the agreement reached with the union.
The excessive administration workloads of teachers cannot be allowed to continue.
The blueprint for the change needed to rebuild and reposition the teaching service back to its rightful place is well documented in the Gallop Inquiry report.
We will have more to say before the election on the steps we will take to remove the red tape burden, give teachers the time to plan and allow teachers to focus on delivering the best education for every child.
CHRIS MINNS MP
NSW LABOR LEADER
PRUE CAR MP
NSW LABOR DEPUTY LEADER
NSW SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION