Queensland Education Unions Focus to Establish Equitable Benchmarks

Queensland

As NAIDOC Week 2024 celebrations unfold across Australia, the unions representing teachers and school leaders in Queensland’s state and non-government schools are proud to release landmark industrial guidelines to establish equitable benchmarks for the employment of First Nations education workers.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) and the Independent Education Union – Queensland and Northern Territory branch (IEU-QNT) announced that these guidelines are the culmination of years of work by First Nations union members and other stakeholders committed to closing the industrial gap experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture educators in schools.

First Languages Australia (FLA), the peak body dedicated to ensuring the strength and preservation of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, collaborated closely with the unions to develop a suite of Industrial Guidelines tailored for employees delivering First Nations language and culture programs in schools.

IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke emphasized the long-overdue recognition of critical work performed by First Nations teachers and school staff. “Our union strongly supports the delivery of First Nations language and culture programs in schools,” Burke said. “Unions play a key role in ensuring the contributions of First Nations education workers are recognized through appropriate, professional pay and conditions that reflect their crucial contribution to students’ understanding of Australia’s rich and diverse histories and cultures.”

Burke noted that the Yubbah Action Group, the committee overseeing the union’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), initially sparked the idea for establishing these industrial guidelines after recognizing the urgent need to ensure viable career pathways for First Nations education workers.

QTU President Cresta Richardson stated that the guidelines aim to help employers understand the necessary employment conditions to support employees delivering First Nations languages and cultural education and to value their work properly. “Such measures are essential to ensure that education systems recognize broader criteria of ‘success’ that reflect First Nations’ frames of reference, rather than expecting First Nations people to conform to norms derived from colonial constructs,” Richardson said.

“If we can bring about changes that see the full richness and complexity of First Nations histories, cultures, and perspectives assigned greater value within schools and education systems, we can be satisfied that we have contributed to meaningful, sustained reconciliation across generations of education workers and students,” she added.

Read More: https://theeducationview.com/

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