The Australian Education Union is launching a new advert featuring the voices of Tasmanian students set to suffer from proposed education budget cuts.

“The Gutwein Government plans to slash education in Tasmania with $109 million* of cuts over four years – that’s $550,000 on average cut from every school in Tasmania,” said AEU Tasmania Executive member and teacher David Genford.

“Schools and colleges need more resources, not less. Teachers, support staff and parents are telling the government loud and clear – our students can’t suffer more cuts,” he said.

“There’s no way cuts of this size won’t have a lasting impact inside the school gate.

“This will affect the quality of education students receive and the ability of teachers to focus on their core work of teaching and learning.”

“Premier Peter Gutwein promised to lead a compassionate government but he’s now wielding the axe over schools.

“Premier Gutwein has a clear choice – it’s cuts or care.”

Ahead of the state budget, parents and the wider community can support the campaign by sending a letter to the Premier on the campaign website: cutsorcare.org.au – which will be launched tomorrow.

The ‘Cuts or Care’ advert will run across Tasmania until the 2020-21 state budget is delivered or the Premier commits to reverse the education funding cuts.

“As treasurer, Peter Gutwein’s track record is cuts to education and freezing Tasmanian teachers’ wages. As Premier, he has the opportunity to show compassion and champion education, not cut it,” said Mr Genford.

“Peter Gutwein, cut funding to every public school student in his first five years as treasurer under the newly elected Liberal government, and cut more than 260 classroom teachers and other staff from schools, colleges and TAFE.

“Teachers and our students need more support but cutting an average of $550,000 from every school will mean less support and more work for teachers that takes us away from teaching.

“Tasmanian students arrive in our classes with more disadvantage than students in any other state of Australia and the latest reports** show student wellbeing is going backwards.

“There’s an urgent need for more social workers and school psychologists, but how do you hire more support staff when you’re cutting $109 million from education?” said Mr Genford.

The Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools Association recommend a ratio of psychologists/school counsellors to students of 1:500. Currently in Tasmanian public schools this ratio is around 1:1000.

THE AEU TASMANIAN BRANCH STATE BUDGET SUBMISSION CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO:

  • Boost professional support staff with a minimum 10 FTE in this budget and a plan for a further 40 FTE to get closer to the ratio recommended by the experts in the field.
  • Bring forward money to fully cover the needs-based funding model in this year’s budget and ensure students have equal access to quality education.
  • Increase per-student funding for public schools.

Further information:
*Pg. 45, Table 4.8, Revised Estimates Report 2019-2020 (including December Quarterly Report)

**Commissioner for Children and Young People Tasmania, report February 2020.

Harriet Binet, AEU Tasmania, 0427 841 760