By Greg Warren MP Member for Campbelltown

08 February 2024

Mr GREG WARREN (Campbelltown) (11:31): My question is addressed to the Deputy Premier, and Minister for Education and Early Learning. Will the Deputy Premier outline how the New South Wales Government is providing greater job security for teachers and support staff?

Ms PRUE CAR (Londonderry—Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Early Learning, and Minister for Western Sydney) (11:32): I certainly can answer that question from the Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Early Learning, who is doing a great job helping us rescue what was left to us after the previous Government's record on public education. It goes without saying, because I say it almost every day in this House, that every single student outcome—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Clerk will stop the clock. I warn the Opposition leadership group that if their behaviour continues, I will have members removed from the Chamber. I have warned members before about being disrespectful, particularly when this Minister is speaking. I do not know whether members realise how loud their conversations are, but such behaviour is disruptive and disrespectful. The Minister has the call.

Ms PRUE CAR: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and it is intentional. I go back to what we are here to do, and that is to repair the public education system in this State. As I was saying, every student outcome that this Government aims to deliver and achieve depends on our teachers—like the wonderful teachers and staff that the Minister for Transport and I met this morning in Dulwich Hill, led by Gina Dracopoulos. They are the most vital resource in our schools. They are the reason that so many people in New South Wales chose to vote this Government in—to repair the system through the prism of their wonderful profession.

One of the things we realised upon coming to government is that Opposition members left us with a teaching workforce that was unacceptably temporary. There were too many temporary teachers. Only about 60 per cent of the teaching workforce in our schools was actually permanent. In what sort of world, when we are offering public education to our students, do we only offer a permanent job to 60 per cent of teachers? It is the profession that starts all others—teaching our children, our most precious resource. We have turned that around, and 17,000 temporary teachers and staff have accepted a permanent position since we came to office. That life‑changing endeavour has resulted in teachers being able to rent homes, get loans and get cars. Support staff working in the front office of the school—the ones that kids go to when they are sick and who have to deal with them in the sick bay—were temporary, not permanent, under the previous Government.

That has benefited schools right across the State of New South Wales. There is not a school I go to where I do not hear reports of teachers and support staff being made permanent and what it has meant to the running of that school, and to those individuals, that they have a right to permanent employment. More than half of the teachers that we have made permanent are in rural, regional and remote New South Wales. Of the support staff that we have made permanent, 60 per cent are in regional, rural and remote schools. [Extension of time]

It says a lot about how The Nationals treated their communities when so many of our most precious resources in those regional communities—our teachers—were only temporary and not permanent. We are talking about communities like Tamworth, where 300 teachers and staff are now permanent thanks to this Government. In Dubbo, 277 teachers and staff are now permanent thanks to this Government. In Cootamundra, 327 teachers and support staff are now permanent thanks to this Government. In all those cases, all the local members were Ministers in the previous Government. They should hang their heads in shame. In the suburbs of Sydney, as well, it is reported back to me at every school I go to. I use the indulgence of the House to make particular mention of the schools in the Penrith community, for the member for Penrith, where 221 teachers and staff are now permanent.

Mr Jihad Dib: The Riff.

Ms PRUE CAR: I will say to the member for Bankstown that usually only those of us who live in the Riff are allowed to call it the Riff. Obviously, it holds a very special place in my heart that the Government has been able to make teachers permanent in the growing parts of Western Sydney so that we can keep them in our schools, teaching our children and improving their educational outcomes. It is all about valuing and respecting the teaching profession because, at the end of the day, it is all about getting better education and wellbeing outcomes for our children. The only way to do that is to put more teachers in front of them. It is just another example of how this Government truly is committed to achieving that aim.