With the final weeks of the 2016 school year upon us we reflect on another extremely busy year for everyone working in public education.

Our central campaign this year has been Gonski, culminating in the 2016 Federal Election.

We campaigned to achieve a genuine sector-blind, needs-based school funding model as proposed by Gonski.

We did this because we know the full six years of Gonski is a once-in-a-generation chance to restore fairness to schools funding and permanently improve resourcing for public schools.

Our campaign will continue and the beginning of 2017 through to the April COAG will be a critical time.

The Federal Government continues to push ahead with its plan to scrap Gonski funding after 2017, and bring in a new funding deal which would cut $80 million from Tasmanian schools.

We will continue to lobby our Premier to not accept any funding deal from the Federal Government other than ‘the full Gonski’.

We start next year continuing negotiations with the Government on the salaries and conditions for our TAFE and DoE teachers as current Agreements nominally expire in March.

Teachers in Tasmania are presently the lowest paid at both the beginning of their careers and at the top of the incremental scale. There are real challenges in TAFE with competition from private providers and a shrinking workforce.

Looking back over the year, one of the highlights for me was our amazingly successful inaugural ‘Public Education Day Dinner’. Over 120 members and invited guests celebrated the wonderful achievements of our public schools. The positive feedback we received from both members and guests has meant that there will be another brilliant event next year, so pop that in your diaries.

I want to acknowledge the great work of teachers, support staff and principals in all our workplaces across Tasmania. Remember, you make a difference to the lives of every student, every day.

We will continue to challenge governments to rise above politics and deliver policies that will properly resource schools and enable our schools to plan, invest and put in place programs that give every child the opportunity for a great education.

From all the AEU Team, we wish you all the best for the festive season. Enjoy your well-deserved break.