29 January 2015     No.02-15

Education, industrial relations:

A clear choice when you vote

Election policy update 

In the last two weeks of the state election campaign, the following significant announcements with statewide implications for the teaching profession have been made by the two major parties. More information on these announcements, plus a comparison of ALP, Greens and LNP policies known before the election, are available on the QTU website.

ALP announcements

  • A new teacher classification and associated pay structure, including the classifications of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers. The QTU supports this move towards professional pay.
  • 2,500 additional teachers over three years, 290 more per year than needed to cover enrolment growth. The QTU supports this initiative to help address the shortfall in teacher numbers imposed by the LNP in its first budget and put downward pressure on class sizes.
  • $34million over three years to reinvigorate TAFE as the quality public provider of VET; plans include 100 new full-time positions, returning TAFE assets to departmental ownership and undoing the LNP’s agenda of making all public funds contestable. The QTU supports this plan to revive TAFE after three years of LNP cuts.
  • Extra guidance officers and a review of the allocation of administrative and support staff in schools. The QTU supports each of these initiatives, which would provide more support in schools and address some school leader workload issues.

LNP announcements

  • 22 new schools and school upgrades. The QTU cannot support these announcements on the information available; there are no guarantees that new schools will be state schools (the government’s planning commission does not distinguish between the future need for state or private schools in any community), and there is no information on how much maintenance funding will go to state schools. The LNP could have saved itself and the state significant costs if it hadn’t closed six state schools in areas of predicted population growth. Neither can the QTU support any promises based on asset privatisation.
  • Plans to pay employers to take on apprentices, additional training places “directly linked to local employment needs” and a “pathway to quality jobs” program. The QTU cannot support these announcements in the context of three years of cuts to TAFE as the established public provider of VET, and the LNP’s decision in 2012 to axe the successful “Skilling Queenslanders for Work” program.

There have been no announcements (that the QTU is aware of) concerning education or industrial relations from other parties during the campaign.

It is important that members remember that conditions remain under threat through the LNP’s award modernisation and enterprise bargaining agenda.

Members should also remember that silence during this election campaign does not mean that school leader contracts, teacher rankings and rating and performance bonuses will not continue to be pursued by a LNP government.

Reclaim the Profession when you vote.

TAFE stop-work and rallies – 29 January 2015

QTU TAFE members have stopped work for the first time in nearly 20 years in protest at the on-going attacks on TAFE by the Newman government.  A rally of over 150 in Brisbane was addressed by ALP education spokesperson Dr. Anthony Lynham and Greens Senator Larissa Waters.  Other rallies were held in Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Logan, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.  Details of the issues can be found on the QTU website.

Congratulations to the TAFE teachers who took this action in the face of significant intimidation by TAFE Queensland, including threats of disciplinary action.

QTU Senior Officers and Executive have made it clear that any attempt to discipline TAFE members for participating in this action will buy a fight with 43,000 QTU members, not just 1,000 TAFE members.

Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union,
21 Graham St, Milton Q 4064