NSW Government ‘efficiency dividend’ cuts will hurt schools and students

The NSW Teachers Federation is deeply concerned that the Berejiklian Government’s annual ‘efficiency dividend’ will hurt our schools and students as each year it rips hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Education Department’s budget.

Originally set at 1.5 per cent, the annual budget cut for all State Government departments rose to 2 per cent last financial year and is now being increased to an unsustainable 3 per cent.

“The Education Department has already been gutted and hundreds of positions that once supported schools have been lost because of this so- called ‘efficiency dividend’,” Federation President, Maurie Mulheron, said.

“This year’s 3 per cent cut could slice up to $420 million dollars from the Education Department’s budget.”

“That’s $420 million that should have been going to assist schools delivering a better education for the students of NSW.”

Mr Mulheron said the mandated cuts would mean a significant loss of capacity in the Education Department to provide any support for schools.

“Before the Coalition began cutting staff from the Education Department there were experienced teacher-consultants deployed across the state to assist schools to manage a range of issues including children with challenging behaviours, community and parent liaison, drug and alcohol education, student welfare, multicultural education and anti-bullying strategies. As well, there were curriculum experts working in specific subject areas.”

“This ‘efficiency dividend’, marketed as ‘Local Schools Local Decisions’, has resulted in state-wide programs and front-line support either being scrapped or the additional responsibilities placed on already over-burdened schools.”

“As well, hundreds of public service positions have disappeared from payroll, staffing, assets, leave and other Department branches, with that work now also forced down onto schools.”

“The loss of these positions will mean that principals and teachers will be forced to pick up this administrative work and this will take away time from teaching and learning.”

“Efficiency dividend? There’s nothing efficient about forcing 2200 schools to do the work of the Department. And State Treasury, not students, receives the dividend.”