The Liberal Government is delivering a record $1.4 billion investment in education.
We are investing $1.2 million in literacy and numeracy specialists, $1 million in launching into learning, $1 million in additional teacher assistant hours and provided additional funding to extend six high schools to Year 11 and 12 in rural and regional communities.
We are also delivering a five per cent increase in direct funding to Tasmanian schools through school resources packages, allocated to schools yesterday.
Regrettably, the Australian Education Union’s rejection of our sensible pay freeze proposal has resulted in a savings target of 266 full time equivalent positions across the Department of Education, which employs about 7,600 staff.
It is important to note, that because of our commitment to minimise impacts on the frontline, the overall funding for staffing will be increased from that outlined in the State Budget. However, because the unions chose to have a pay rise instead of a pay freeze, there is not enough money to fund the existing staffing levels.
• Tasmania’s 16 smallest schools, support schools and Early Childhood Intervention Services will be exempt;
• Student-to-staff ratio will remain better than the national average; and
• A cap on reductions is in place to minimise the impact on smaller schools so they’re not disproportionately impacted.
A reduction of around 300 positions would have been required for the Education Department to meet its budget, but determined action by the Liberal Government to minimise impacts on frontline services will see more than 30 of those positions saved.
We have consistently said that protection for the frontline positions could not be guaranteed without the pay freeze; the loss of an additional 460 jobs across the public service, including the 266 in the Department of Education, now lies squarely at the feet of the unions.
Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training