06/06/2012

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) -- Tomorrow thousands of teachers and principals will be striking in support of their campaign for wage increases, permanent employment and smaller class sizes. The Greens are fully supporting the teachers' campaign.

Nearly one-fifth of Victorian teachers are going from year to year on short-term contracts. If we want to attract the best and brightest people to teach our children, we need to offer good pay and secure employment. Lack of job security and low pay are deterring young people from choosing a career in teaching, and almost a third of new teachers in Victoria do not see themselves working in the public system after five years.

Under the previous government the proportion of teachers on short-term contracts climbed to 19.4 per cent, and it now stands at 8000 or about 18 per cent. It includes nearly one-half -- 47 per cent -- of beginning teachers. All teachers should have a presumption of permanent employment after a year in the job, unless there are genuine extenuating circumstances, with all third-year teachers guaranteed permanent employment.

Teachers were promised that they would be the best paid in Australia, and the Baillieu government has shamelessly reneged on this promise. Instead they are being offered only a 2.5 per cent increase in wages. Nurses won a pay rise of 14 per cent to 21 per cent over four years. Police were awarded a 19 per cent pay rise over four years. Our teachers have fallen behind over many years and deserve to be the best paid in Australia, as the government clearly promised that they would be.

Instead the government has come up with an unsatisfactory sliding scale formula of performance-based pay for some teachers, which fails to recognise that teaching is a team effort and that the way to lift performance is to properly resource our schools and support all teachers with decent pay and conditions, as was promised.