QTU President's comment 14 July 2015

Promises kept…plus some more

Kevin Bates, QTU President

The first budget of the Palaszczuk Labor government has delivered on the education and training promises made to the people of Queensland at the January election and provided a number of extra initiatives that clearly prioritise education.

The budget announces $12.4 billion for education, with about $9 billion focused on early childhood education and care, state schools and training and skills. This represents another record spend in this crucial area of economic and social investment. The budget papers claim a 7.2% increase in overall spending while education remains at 24% as a proportion of the overall state budget.

Budget highlights

Key components of the budget that apply to education include the following investments. The starred (*) items represent election commitments:

  • $248.7 million over four years for extra teachers* - 875 teachers above growth to lower class sizes and support schools through repairing the damage done by the previous LNP government
  • $6 million over three years for Letting Teachers Teach* – professional pay scales initiative to develop a new classification structure for teachers based on the Highly Accomplished and Lead teacher categories of the professional standards
  • $14.5 million over four years for supporting students* - $8.9 million over three years to provide 45 additional Guidance Officers (15 per year for the first three years cumulative) for secondary, P-10/12 and special schools with secondary school aged enrolments
  • $439.2 million for capital works in 2015-16 (Building Our Schools) including:
    • $7 million of $25 million over two years for the development of the Cairns Special School*
    • $10 million of $90 million for two new schools in Townsville
    • $10 million for minor works
  • $300 million in additional funding for school maintenance ($230 million from the $500 million hospitals and schools maintenance fund)
  • $2 million in 2015-16 to upgrade water based fire protection in schools

The $1 billion budget for training and skills includes the $34.5 million promised during the election to restore TAFE to its rightful place as the premier provider of VET in Queensland. A range of other initiatives have been announced and are currently being analysed in the budget papers.

The health budget also contains an important commitment of $11.8 million to rebuild mental health for young people including a new facility in Townsville and to begin a commission of inquiry into the closure of the Barrett Adolescent Centre.

The QTU welcomes this investment in education, the fact that the Palaszczuk government has kept the promises it made and the extra initiatives to deliver improvements in education, particularly infrastructure.

5.30pm - 14 July 2015 : Stop press

QTU members may have heard today that the state budget contains measures relating to long service leave and superannuation for public servants. The Treasurer has provided categorical assurances that all entitlements to long service leave and superannuation remain fully funded and able to be delivered. The QTU will provide more information in the coming days.