Association Spotlight: Moree Teachers Association

Number of members: 130

President: Jason Auld

Secretary: Julie McMullen

Our meetings We meet twice a term at the Post Office Hotel and normally have a pretty good turn-out at most meetings. Our biggest turn-out was for our last meeting when Acting

Deputy President Henry Rajendra came along to talk about some of the current focuses of Federation and pay negotiations, with around 40 members present, which was fantastic. Our meetings are friendly. The President buys any first-time attendees a beverage, and we also encourage all newly appointed teachers to come along and learn more about Federation and its work.

Our community Moree has a population of a little under 10,000 people. We have a transient population at times and our numbers change depending on the strength of the local agricultural industry of cotton and wheat. We have a strong Indigenous community and our schools place significant importance on cultural education, which can be enlightening for new staff to learn about the world’s oldest living culture.

Our association takes in schools from Moree – Moree Secondary College, Moree Public School and Moree East Public School – and surrounds, including Pallamallawa, Bullarah, Barwon Learning Centre, Garah and Mallawa. Most of our schools are heavily affected by the current drought and student enrolments have decreased recently. With such a strong agricultural industry, the drought has affected all facets of life here, from sporting teams to charity events and everything in between.

We have some great social events in Moree including “Moree on a Plate”, a vibrant food and wine festival hosted on the grounds of Moree Secondary College’s senior campus, and the Moree Christmas Races, which draw a crowd of about 5000 who brave December’s weather. Our swimming pools are also a highlight of our town, operating year round with both cold water and hot water pools.

Our local MPs, Nationals Adam Marshall in NSW Parliament and Mark Coulton in Federal Parliament are actively

involved in our schools and attend a majority of our functions, which is great.

Our challenges Moree schools face a number of them. First, as a remote and rural school we can at times struggle to attract teachers to take on temporary roles. We do have some great incentives for staff to take up positions in Moree, with rental subsidies and other allowances available.

Our focus Across our schools, we have a great mix of early career and experienced teachers. Our current priorities at the Association are the pay discrepancy some teachers face due to the year they started and ensuring all teachers in Moree have access to all incentives, including the new bonuses for remote and rural teachers.

Our achievements We ran a letter box drop before the federal election to encourage voters to consider student funding as a priority, with a great turn out of members, and we followed it up with a fun family BBQ in a local park to thank members. It was a great day and well attended. It was refreshing to see members give up their Saturdays to try to ensure student learning was a priority.

Our structure We have a pretty active executive structure and have seen some significant changes in some roles over the past eight years. Our President has stayed constant since 2014, yet we normally see other roles change year to year as people transfer or go on maternity leave. We have an active Woman’s Contact, Aboriginal Contact, Teacher Housing Authority Contact as well as our Councillor Matt Dean who is also our New Activist Contact. Both our Treasurer and Secretary are new to their roles and doing a wonderful job.