1990s: Teacher transfer

Teacher transfer has always been an important part of the profession of teaching. Along with other public servants, teachers were moved to whatever part of the state of Queensland that suited departmental needs. Unlike other public servants, except for police, teachers were sent to isolated locations because of the existence of schools to cater for local children.

Apart from a fairly measly cost of living allowance, known as the locality allowance, teachers were not compensated for the increased cost of living in some parts of Queensland, including the cost of food, travel and accommodation, not to mention loss of contact with family and friends and the inability to continue high level artistic pursuits.
In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the QTU began to develop the notion of moving from the idea of compensating teachers for compulsory transfer to one of attracting teachers to less desirable locations by offering incentives in cash and kind. This was similar to the way in which private enterprise attracts workers.

In the mid-70s, the Director General of Education favoured an examination of a teacher incentive scheme. Though there was much enthusiasm for the concept, changing government and departmental officials meant that no real progress was made.

However, an incentive transfer scheme remained a QTU priority, and in the 1990s funds were earmarked for a Remote Area Incentive Scheme. Government and department assurances that this was a solid proposal created eager anticipation that at last there would be a rational scheme to attract a range of teachers to apply for country service.

Unfortunately, the election that followed saw a change of government and the reallocation of funds to another area. Negotiations over an incentive transfer scheme had to start again.

As teachers now know, a scheme which contained some elements of what was originally proposed was finally developed, but the transfer of teachers remains one of the most difficult areas of staffing Queensland schools to this day, and changing policies relating to hiring and firing teachers and the nature of public schools will probably ensure that it
remains so.

Tony Christinson
QTU Life Member

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 119 number 2, 125th Anniversary Special Edition, p37


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