Strategic plan approved for NSW election

Federation Annual Conference today approved a comprehensive plan to build broad community understanding” of the central planks of the More Than Thanks campaign, leading up to the March 2023 state election.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the strategic plan, to be developed and presented to August Council for endorsement, would include contingencies to engage the Government should it return to the negotiating table as well as campaign goals heading into the March election.

Mr Gavrielatos reminded delegates of the industrial campaign of the past seven months and the three strikes since December, saying: We will do it again and again” until the Government agrees to negotiate.

We have never shirked from our responsibilities,” he said. When they [the Government] failed on delivering, when they ignore the facts, we’ve got a responsibility to act as we have once, as we have twice, as we have three times.

The Government remains in this position of denial, spin, gimmickry, and anything but dealing with the fundamentals that have brought us to this crisis.

That’s despite their own evidence, despite their own internal briefings, which conclude what the Gallop Inquiry concluded; that there’s been a decline in teacher salaries relative to other professions, making teaching less attractive.

This is a crisis that can only be addressed by a fundamental reset and whilst we’ve won the debate … what we haven’t won yet, but we will, is the policy announcement from the Government.

For, if we don’t, we will continue to organise and mobilise, we will do so until we win even if that means taking us right to the state election in March 2023.”

The media and political plan would also set out a strategy to best position Federation to secure the commitments it needs from the major political parties to obtain policy promises that meet the goals of the More Than Thanks campaign.

Conference condemned the Perrottet Government’s repeated failure to meaningfully engage and consult with the profession and deliver on the findings of the Gallop Inquiry, despite its own Department presenting disturbing evidence of the teacher shortage crisis.

Members voted for Federation to continue to explore, develop and implement the full range of industrial, political and media strategies, both independently and collectively across the broader union movement, that are necessary to grow union and grow strength. By doing so, Federation can continue to pursue the salaries and conditions the profession needs to secure the promise of education for every child and a healthy public service.

Of most concern is the medium- and longer-term outlook, which is potentially beyond comprehension noting a potential shortfall of 15,000 teachers across the state in the absence of a significant policy reset now and into the future,” the recommendation to conference stated.

It is imperative that every effort is made over the next nine months to secure the policy commitments from each political party that are necessary for the future of the teaching profession and the realisation of the right of every child to be taught by a qualified teacher in every class, every day.”

Mr Gavrielatos said unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries were the root cause of the crippling teacher shortages.

We have a profession in crisis and a government that refuses to act,” he said. Thousands of classes are uncovered across the state because of a lack of teachers.

The Premier’s 3 per cent salary cap is a take-it or leave-it proposition that is far below inflation, which is running at more than five per cent. He is ignoring the evidence that current salary levels are turning people off teaching and a significant increase is urgently required.

If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need.”