QTU President Kevin Bates 300pxFrom the QTU President :

2020-2021 Budget outcomes for education

1 December 2020

The state budget handed down in parliament today delivers on the commitments made to education, both schools and TAFE, by the Palaszczuk government in the 2020 state election. The budget includes a total of $17.5 billion for education and training, with schools and TAFE benefiting from most of this commitment.

The budget funds the employment of 6,190 new teachers and 1,139 new teacher-aides over the next four years. This is in line with expectations arising from the projected growth in student enrolments. The critical principle at stake here, whatever the number of teachers employed, is the continuing need to place downward pressure on maximum class sizes to enhance education outcomes for all students. One emerging issue that will require further consideration is the expected level of net interstate migration, with 86,000 more people moving to Queensland over the next four years, which may further increase the already rapidly growing enrolments in Queensland state schools.

The health budget delivers the promised enhancements to the provision of wellbeing professionals in our schools to support students. Supporting the work of our outstanding guidance officers and senior guidance officers, the government will employ 464 additional wellbeing professionals in Queensland state schools and trial the placement of general practitioners in up to 20 schools.

The infrastructure component of the state budget involves several large commitments.

  • The ongoing provision of funding for the Building Future Schools fund – $1.7 billion for new schools and land acquisition – and the opening of eight new schools in 2022 and 2023, in addition to the 13 new schools that opened in 2020 and 2021
  • $1 billion over four years for the Great Schools, Great Future commitment – including $394 million for new classrooms and administration buildings; $235 million for new and upgraded multi-purpose school halls and performing arts centres; and $100 million for infrastructure renewal.
  • Continuation of the $477 million in funding to deliver the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program providing air-conditioning for all state schools and expand the Advancing Clean Energy in Schools program

The commitment to TAFE is much as expected.

  • $200 million invested in the future skill requirements of Queenslanders – including $83 million for future skills; $32 million for the TAFE Priority Skills fund; and $25 million for pre-apprenticeship support.
  • $100 million invested in infrastructure renewal over three years to upgrade TAFE campuses and facilities.
  • $21 million to extend free TAFE and free apprenticeships to Queenslanders under 25.

The impact of COVID-19 will continue to be widespread and deeply felt in our community and the economy. The QTU welcomes the government’s commitment to education and training and is prepared to work with it to identify programs that can be ditched to save money and reduce the workload of teachers and principals. Getting rid of both NAPLAN and the near defunct Independent Public Schools program would save the state tens of millions of dollars each year and have a positive impact on schools and education.

The QTU will continue to analyse the budget papers to create a more detailed understanding of the commitments to education and training. More information will be published once available. ​​​​

Kevin Bates

More information: Budget highlights document - Queensland Government

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