The Minns Labor Government is calling on the Liberals and Nationals to end their repeated attacks on NSW’s hard-working teachers after a senior Liberal MP dismissed the teacher shortage crisis as a “fairy tale.”
The Liberals and Nationals has repeatedly refused to support making NSW public school teachers the highest paid in the country, with Opposition MPs trying to block a motion in the NSW Parliament to recognise the historic pay rise.
In an attempt to gag parliamentary debate, the former Treasurer Matt Kean accused the Minns Labor Government of “caving in” to teachers and said the teacher shortage crisis was a “fairy tale” and “an invented problem”.
This is a slap in the face for the 943 hard-working teachers in Cessnock Electorate.
When the Liberals and Nationals left office, they left a blowout in the number of teacher vacancies across NSW in their wake. In Cessnock Electorate the number of vacancies skyrocketed by 39 per cent leaving many local schools stretched and causing classes to merge.
By the time the former Liberals and Nationals left office teacher resignations were outstripping retirements, the number of teachers leaving within five years had reached a peak and thousands of students were taught in merged or cancelled classes.
The Liberals and Nationals have ramped up their attacks on teachers in recent days by demanding NSW educators be more productive, with the Deputy Nationals Leader Bronnie Taylor telling local radio “when you get a pay rise, you normally need to do a bit more”.
“Where are the productivity gains? And where’s the benefit?” the Deputy Nationals Leader told radio station 2CC on Tuesday.
“Wage increases with no productivity gains; no one can run a business like that”.
The demands for NSW’s burnt-out teachers to work harder were backed by other senior Liberal MPs including the Shadow Treasurer Damien Tudehope
Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Justin Clancy, whose Albury seat has 792 teachers, denied it was a problem in NSW.
The Minns Labor Government’s once-in-a-generation uplift in salaries will help address the state’s teacher shortage crisis and ensure NSW has the teachers it needs to improve student outcomes.
Previously, teachers in NSW were constrained by the former Liberal National government’s now defunct wages cap, degrading their pay to among the worst in the nation and creating a teacher shortage crisis.
In fact, under the former Government, for the first time in recent memory, teacher resignations outstripped retirements in NSW.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:
“The Liberals and Nationals need to stop their attacks on our teachers who have felt undervalued and demoralised for far too long.
“As a community we need to value teachers and the vital role they play in educating our children.
“The disgraceful comments by Liberal and National MPs that over-worked teachers need to work harder, are not only outright wrong, but are insulting and potentially harmful.
“We need to do everything we can to retain all our committed, hard-working teachers, not drive more of them out of the classrooms.
“The Minns Labor Government believes our teachers deserve a significant uplift in their salaries and is committed to supporting them in their work to improve educational outcomes for NSW students.”
Member for the Electorate of Cessnock Clayton Barr said:
“The Liberals and Nationals continued attacks on our over worked teachers are unbelievable.”
“While Liberals and Nationals are making attacks on our hard-working teachers, we are getting on with the job of addressing the crisis in education created by the former government.”
“We should be congratulating and applauding this incredible, long-overdue wage offer for teachers which will ensure teachers are valued and will encourage more people into the teaching profession.”