Hope for beyond the health crisis

Federation is already working on how it will respond to the political and economic challenges that will face public education, teachers and students in the post-pandemic period.

The union has commissioned economist Adam Rorris to conduct a scoping study that will report on the likely economic effects of COVID-19 on state and federal governments, and their education and training budgets; emergent policy responses that aim to deliver progressive outcomes; and the appropriateness of establishing a COVID-19 Emergency Policy Response Taskforce.

Mr Rorris will consider objectives, scope and terms of reference for the taskforce, and identify economic and social policy experts suitable to form the taskforce panel.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said society had an opportunity to emerge from the pandemic as a fairer, kinder society, but it would need to take a new direction in public policy.

“It is time to move away from the usual policy responses of curbing recurrent government expenditure — which includes teacher salaries — and reducing industrial rights,” he said.

“With adequate investment, the public system is best placed to meet the public’s needs for education and training. Federation will counter any calls to manage the recovery period with regressive public policies.

“At this time of upheaval people have realised political mindsets can be shifted and these old ideas are no longer acceptable.”