The latest financial manoeuvre by the NSW government has not only successfully located the funds necessary to support its monumental teacher wage hike, but in doing so, it is also cutting away bureaucracy within the education branch. The billions needed for this operation have been found by scrupulously examining and eliminating bureaucratic redundancy.
Prue Car, the Minister for Education and Early Learning, revealed that $1.4bn would be redirected from other sectors within the Department of Education to bankroll this significantly large growth in wages, a move that hasn’t been seen for almost three decades. By taking such steps, the government has ensured that NSW teachers will now be the highest paid in the nation.
Car elaborated on the process stating that these funds would be gathered by reducing the number of contractors and management consultants by over 200, and scaling back on programs that don’t have a discernible impact on schools. Discretionary finances, which had formerly diverted teachers from their instructional roles to administrative tasks will also be repurposed, she added.
The minister expects this carefully calculated adjustment to garner substantial savings for the government. The new funding agreement is anticipated to save $268m in its inaugural year; subsequently, it’s set to conserve an additional $390m each year for the subsequent three years.
Emphasizing how this pivotal move serves as a prudent and sustainable utility of the education budget, Car explained how these conserved funds will be redirected towards improving classrooms and aiding teachers.
She noted that under the previous Liberal and National government, a multitude of experienced teachers were compelled to depart from teaching to manage administrative jobs, which amplified a previously denied teacher shortage crisis. School administrators had also been burdened with an overload of paperwork, leading them to depend on teachers for assistance.
As a direct consequence, thousands of teachers were taken away from direct teaching roles and placed in administrative roles, contributing to the inflated bureaucracy. “This demands a change,” Car said, “We need our best and brightest teachers back in the classrooms, utilizing their skills and experience to mentor other educators and teach our students.”
Following contentious discussions with the NSW Teachers Federation, the state government managed to find common ground and finally conceded the expansive wage hike. Starting salaries for teachers will see an increase from $75,791 to $85,000 starting October 9, while the higher salaries will jump from $113,042 to $122,100.