Libs and Nats attack pay rise for 925 local teachers

THE MINNS Labor Government is calling on the Liberals and Nationals to end their repeated attacks on NSW’s hard-working teachers after a senior Liberal MP dismissed the teacher shortage crisis as a “fairytale”.
Media Release

The Liberals and Nationals have repeatedly refused to support making NSW public school teachers the highest paid in the country, with Opposition MPs trying to block a motion in the NSW Parliament to recognise the historic pay rise.

In an attempt to gag parliamentary debate, the former Treasurer Matt Kean accused the Minns Labor Government of “caving in” to teachers and said the teacher shortage crisis was a “fairytale” and “an invented problem”.

This is a slap in the face for the 925 hard-working teachers in the Lismore Electorate.

When the Liberals and Nationals left office, they left a blowout in the number of teacher vacancies across NSW in their wake. In Lismore the number of vacancies skyrocketed by 310%leaving many local schools stretched and causing classes to merge.

By the time the former Liberals and Nationals left office teacher resignations were outstripping retirements, the number of teachers leaving within five years had reached a peak and thousands of students were taught in merged or cancelled classes.

The Liberals and Nationals have ramped up their attacks on teachers in recent days by demanding NSW educators be more productive, with the Deputy Nationals Leader Bronnie Taylor telling local radio “when you get a pay rise, you normally need to do a bit more”.

“Where are the productivity gains? And where’s the benefit?”, the Deputy Nationals Leader told radio station 2CC on Tuesday.

“Wage increases with no productivity gains; no one can run a business like that”.

The demands for NSW’s burnt-out teachers to work harder were backed by other senior Liberal MPs including the Shadow Treasurer Damien Tudehope

Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Justin Clancy, whose Albury seat has 792 teachers, denied it was a problem in NSW.

The Minns Labor Government’s once-in-a-generation uplift in salaries will help address the state’s teacher shortage crisis and ensure NSW has the teachers it needs to improve student outcomes.

Previously, teachers in NSW were constrained by the former Liberal National Government’s now defunct wages cap, degrading their pay to among the worst in the nation and creating a teacher shortage crisis.

In fact, under the former Government, for the first time in recent memory, teacher resignations outstripped retirements in NSW.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“The Liberals and Nationals need to stop their attacks on our teachers who have felt undervalued and demoralised for far too long.

“As a community we need to value teachers and the vital role they play in educating our children.

“The disgraceful comments by Liberals and Nationals MPs that over-worked teachers need to work harder, are not only outright wrong, but are insulting and potentially harmful.

“We need to do everything we can to retain all our committed, hard-working teachers, not drive more of them out of the classrooms.

“The Minns Labor Government believes our teachers deserve a significant uplift in their salaries and is committed to supporting them in their work to improve educational outcomes for NSW students.”

Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin said:

“Earlier this week I put out a statement welcoming the pay rise as a huge fillip for the teaching profession in our state after a dire 10 years which saw teachers quitting in droves by the time we won office.

“To see this feral response by members of the State Opposition is nothing short of a disgrace, given their shameful neglect of public education while they were in power.

“We want to allow teachers to get on with the job of teaching our children with the knowledge that we are backing them in.”

13 September 2023