The NSW government has found the billions of dollars needed to fund its historic teacher wage increase by “cutting bureaucratic waste” within its education department.
Education and Early Learning Minister Prue Car said $1.4bn would be pulled from elsewhere in the Department of Education to fund the biggest increase in nearly three decades, making teachers in NSW the best paid in the country.
Ms Car said more than 200 contractors and management consultants would be cut to raise the funds, while programs that “don’t directly support schools” would also be reduced.
Discretionary funds that had previously taken teachers away from classroom duties to do admin tasks would also be redirected, Ms Car said.
The government anticipates it will save $268m in the first year of the new agreement and $390m in each of the next three years.
Ms Car described the move as a “responsible and sustainable use of our education budget”, with the funds reinvested in classrooms and teachers.
“Under the former Liberal and National government, thousands of experienced teachers were pulled off class, which exacerbated a teacher shortage crisis which to this day they deny even existed,” she said in a statement.
“Principals were loaded up with unnecessary paperwork and were forced to turn to trusted teachers to help.
“Thousands of teachers were taken away from the classroom and put behind desks because schools were loaded up with paperwork.
“That has to change. We need our best and brightest teachers back in the classroom where they can really make a difference, applying their experience and skills to mentor teachers and teach our students.”
The state government agreed to the historic wage increase with the NSW Teachers Federation on Saturday, ending a long-running standoff with the union.
From October 9, starting salaries will increase from $75,791 to $85,000, while salaries at the top of the scale will climb from $113,042 to $122,100.
These raises constitute a 12 and 8 per cent increase respectively and make NSW teachers the highest paid in the nation.