Union advocacy leads to major win for educators working in Tasmania’s isolated schools

Educators working in some of the state’s most isolated schools have won a 24 per cent increase to cost-of-living allowances following strong Australian Education Union advocacy.

The AEU in June applied to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission to have District Allowances increased to retain staff in isolated schools and cover rapidly increasing living costs.

The union earlier this year revealed educators working in isolated areas were short-changed thousands of dollars in cost-of-living payments that had been frozen for a decade.

District Allowances are a general allowance to compensate for excess costs necessarily incurred by an employee in an isolated area.

AEU Tasmania President David Genford applauded the outcome but said it was unacceptable union action was required for the Government to make right the pay conditions for educators in isolated areas, where teacher shortages are most severe.

“This is a significant union win which will benefit hundreds of Tasmanian educators,” he said.

“But the fact the Rockliff Government had to be dragged to a tribunal hearing to pay overdue allowances to educators in isolated areas shows just how uninterested the Government has been in fixing education.

“This lack of respect only makes teacher and staff shortages in our schools worse. Educators and our students deserve better.”

Mr Genford said the State Government must now deliver on its promise to make Tasmania a nation leader in education by adopting the Lifting Learning solutions presented to it by educators.

“Educators across the state are burning out and too many are leaving the profession over unacceptable working conditions,” he said.

“The Lifting Learning solutions we put to the Rockliff Government 14 months ago included a comprehensive incentive package for staffing isolated schools, it’s past time for the Government to end their neglect of these important Tasmanian communities.

“Public education in Tasmania needs serious reform and if this state government cared about future student learning conditions, it would come to the negotiation table with real workload solutions.”