Union endorses new teacher accommodation policy position

The 2016 November State Council of the Union endorsed a new teacher accommodation position statement that takes into account the new ownership model and the increasing use of the private housing market.

These are the main elements of the new policy position.

  • Support for the concept of accommodation being owned and managed by one government agency, as long as standards and access are improved.
  • Support for increased access to the private market. It should be noted that since the introduction of the new ownership model in 2014, improvements in accommodation standards have largely been limited to those properties that DET is leasing from the private market.
  • Continued support for the local management of accommodation. The QTU is committed to seeking additional support for local accommodation committees (LACs) in delivering this important service, but also believes that QTU members should continue to be involved and that the allocation of accommodation etc. should not simply be handed over to external agencies/people.

The following is an extract from the statement.

QTU Position Statement – Teacher Accommodation

  • The values underlying the provision of teacher accommodation focus on:
    • access, equity and quality, specifically: access for all eligible teachers to provided accommodation at government rental rates in centres where no, limited or variable appropriate private market exists, particularly noting the significance of attracting and retaining teachers in rural and remote locations
    • equity of standard of accommodation available in particular centres
    • quality of accommodation and standard of maintenance.
  • Provision and management of teacher accommodation (including existing availability and management) is overseen by negotiation and agreement with government.
  • All government accommodation provided for teachers be owned or managed by a single government agency. As Government Employee Housing (GEH) owns the majority of teacher accommodation, the remaining Department of Education teacher accommodation should have its ownership or property management transferred to GEH.
  • Teacher accommodation be a mix of government-owned accommodation (particularly in remote centres where no private market exists) and private rental accommodation provided at standard teacher accommodation rental rates. 
  • Teacher housing should be managed at a centre or district level through locally constituted committees of QTU members (teachers) (e.g. local accommodation committees) and overseen by representative consultative and decision-making bodies with QTU representation.
  • The QTU does not support a “payment of subsidy” model due to disadvantageous tax implications for QTU members.

Review update

The review of teacher accommodation policy and associated matters which was launched in 2010, suspended in 2011 pending the 2012 state election, and only recommenced in early 2016, will hopefully be finalised by the end of semester one, 2017.

Although this review will not solve every teacher accommodation concern or problem, we do hope it will deliver a more responsive and flexible policy and hopefully resolve once and for all issues such as the length of time that teachers can reside in accommodation.

Members will receive updates during the year as review outcomes are agreed.

Jeff Backen, Assistant Secretary

Kevina O'Neill, Assistant Secretary and Secretary, QTU State Accommodation Committee

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 1, 10 February 2017, p4