Media release – Australian Education Union, 28  September 2022

Ball in Premier’s court to end learning disruption

Thousands of educators stopped work across the state on Wednesday with a strong message for Premier Rockliff that he can no longer ignore Tasmania’s deepening education crisis.

More than 3000 Australian Education Union members joined 20 different state-wide stop work meetings calling for the government to fix staff shortages and under-resourcing impacting student learning.

Hobart’s Parliament Lawns attracted more than 1200 members, as teachers and support staff shared their frustration about the government’s disregard for student learning and educator working conditions.

Around 700 other members packed Launceston’s Elphin Sports Centre and 400 filled Devonport Oval, while 200 educators gathered to stand up for public education at the Burnie Arts Centre.

AEU Tasmania President David Genford said Wednesday’s collective action presented a line in the sand moment to the Premier.

“AEU teachers and support staff are asking which side of history Premier Rockliff will stand on,” Mr Genford said.

“Our educators are burnt out and students are missing out. They cannot go on any longer working under these untenable conditions. More teachers and support staff will walk away from their professions unless the Premier steps up.

“Premier Rockliff must decide if he will support Tasmania’s hardworking public education workforce with the reforms our students so desperately need. Or will he continue neglecting working and learning conditions as more educators walk away?”

Speaking at the Launceston stop work meeting Launceston College teacher and AEU Rep Cameron Hindrum told members they’d showed courage for standing up for education reform.

“Thank you for committing to seeking change, as we need to seek it and make our government listen,” he said.

“It would have been nice to have been shown respect by negotiations with the government over the past 14 months.

“Educators on average work up to 150 per cent of their paid hours according to new Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership figures.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask for us to make a few suggestions, to put forward a log of claims, so we don’t have to repeatedly demand what should be provided like safer class sizes and so on.”

Mr Genford said the ball remained in the Premier’s court to end the learning disruption caused by underfunding and neglect in schools by supporting Lifting Learning solutions.

He said educators would otherwise be left with no choice but to escalate their actions.

Cassy O’Connor MP, Greens Leader and Education spokesperson, 28 September 2022

Greens Stand in Solidarity with Education Staff

The Greens proudly stand with the Australian Education Union, teachers, and support staff who stopped work and rallied around the state this morning.

It’s a sure sign the situation in schools is untenable when dedicated school staff feel forced to walk off the job.

Staff in schools are doing their best to deliver quality education for our children, but they’re being held back by a Liberal Government who won’t pay them properly or provide the resources they need to give young Tasmanians the best possible education.

Education staff are crying out for more assistance for new teachers, more in-class support, more school psychologists, a commitment to filling all staff vacancies, and of course fair pay and conditions for all educators and support staff.

The Liberals aren’t listening. It’s been fourteen months of ‘negotiation’ undertaken in so little apparent faith, educators and school support staff have now taken strike action.

Instead of investing in tackling the significant challenges in schools, Jeremy Rockliff wants to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds on an unnecessary stadium.

It’s a betrayal of education staff, and of Tasmanian children who deserve a high quality education.

The Premier and the Education Minister didn’t even bother showing up to the rally to explain themselves. What an insult to the hardworking teachers and support staff who are holding the education system together.

It’s well past time for the Liberal government to start listening to those working in schools, and to deliver the resources and reforms needed to ensure young Tasmanians get the best possible education, delivered by staff who feel valued and supported.