IEU Speaks: Federal budget

The 2024 federal budget continues repairs to the nation’s education system and delivers much needed relief to IEU members and their families struggling with persistent cost-of-living pressures.

The 2023 and 2024 budget commitments, combined with groundbreaking reforms to workplace laws, have gone some way to address the years of disrespect shown to IEU members.

The crucial work undertaken in our schools and early childhood education centres deserve our nation’s complete support.

Many complex challenges remain. We need more action on teacher workload and our colleagues in state schools are still denied 100 per cent funding of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).

However, the budget does deliver important changes in many areas of need in our schools and workplaces:

Recognising the vital role of early childhood education: The government’s commitment to help fund professional pay rates for early childhood education workers is a gamechanger for the sector. The IEU has been part of the nation’s first supported bargaining process and the government’s provisional funding to support higher wages will make a huge difference to the early years workforce.

New funding for the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan (NTWAP):

  • Targeted funding to support the continued rollout of NTWAP actions includes expansion of the National Teacher Resources Hub as well as the First Nations Teacher strategy to attract and retain more First Nations teachers.
  • Cost-of-living support: Teachers and support staff will be some of the main beneficiaries of the revised ‘stage 3 tax cuts’ from 1 July. Beginning teachers are set to receive up to $1700 and experienced classroom teachers up to $2679. The average tax cut for all workers will be around $1900. Combined with wage increases won through their collective bargaining campaigns, IEU members stand to receive significant financial support in coming months to help with cost-of-living pressures.
  • Paid teacher practicum placements: Our union has campaigned to end ‘placement poverty’ suffered by many student teachers. The new Commonwealth Prac Payment (CPP) is long-overdue and an essential element of the workforce planning needed to forge our next generation of teachers.
  • Cuts to HECS-HELP debts: New teachers have been trapped with growing student debts as indexed increases exceed wage outcomes. New limits on the rate of indexed increases to HECS will provide much needed financial relief for teachers as they begin their new career.
  • Super paid on parental leave: The retirement incomes of women still lag well behind their male co-workers. The government’s plan to pay super on government funded parental leave will help reduce the retirement pay gap that relegates many women to poverty after work.
  • Escaping domestic violence: The IEU was one of the first to secure paid domestic and family violence leave for employees through collective bargaining. The government’s $925 million emergency support payments for victim- survivors to escape violence is another important step towards a safer community.
  • Affordable housing for essential workers: Like so many in the community, education staff
    are often unable to live and work in their local area due to soaring rent and property prices. $12.3 billion in new housing programs begins the long path back to housing affordability for essential workers.
Brad Hayes
IEUA Federal Secretary