23 February 2015    No. 03-15

QTU Natural Disaster Relief

QTU members living in and around Central Queensland and the Wide Bay areas may have suffered significant loss due to severe weather conditions brought on by the effects of Cyclone Marcia on Friday 20 February.

QTU members who have lost possessions due to cyclone damage or water inundation to their principal place of residence can access a relief payment from the QTU Natural Disaster Fund, as long as they were financial members at the time of the natural disaster.

The fund was established, in accordance with QTU policy, to provide some relief and assistance to members affected by natural disasters such as floods, bushfires or cyclones. It is intended to help relieve members' hardship and distress, but it is not a substitute for insurance cover and cannot make good all losses that a member suffers in a natural disaster.

In order to provide some immediate relief, the QTU is making immediate natural disaster relief payments of up to $1,000 to eligible members, with each application being individually assessed prior to payment. Relief will not be provided for damage incurred to vehicles such as cars, caravans or motorbikes, and will also not be available for the repair of fencing, garages, sheds or to repair damage to gardens or paths.

Note , 13 March 2015 :Applications for QTU Natural Disaster Relief payments as a result of Cyclone Marcia are now closed.

Members who have lost teaching resources at school as a result of the cyclone or floods, can apply for compensation from the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) under the Resource Replacement Scheme to help replace them. Information on how to access this payment will be available from your school principal. For more information go to the DETE website.

The principal and school have the authority to approve up to five days discretionary leave (anything in excess of this can only be approved by the Director-General). A special leave form (Application for leave (TSS)) can be downloaded through OnePortal and the following link. http://ppr.det.qld.gov.au/corp/hr/hr/Pages/Leave-Entitlements-for-Employees.aspx

School closures

The Union has had a number of conversations with the Minister and DETE concerning the re-opening of schools after Tropical Cyclone Marcia. While re-opening schools is an important part of returning to normality, the Minister and the Union are agreed that the priority is school and student safety, whether as a result of interruptions to water supply and electricity or damage and debris. Based on this, a number of schools will remain closed today. The Minister has told the Union that she supports principals making this decision based on the need for student safety.

If members have concerns about their school opening, they should contact the QTU so that these issues can be raised with the department.

The Union will be discussing this event with the department subsequently and any suggestions or comments should be forwarded to the Union so that they can be collated and pursued.

The Union is also working closely with DETE on ensuring that schools and our members get the assistance they require as a consequence of these natural disasters. Further advice for members can be found on the QTU website.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union