Tasmania state Liberals pledge more teachers, Legana school if re-elected

New school: West Tamar Cr Peter Kearney, Bass Liberal MHA Sarah Courtney, West Tamar Cr Tim Woinarski, and Bass Liberal MHAs Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson at a potential site for a new school in Legana.
New school: West Tamar Cr Peter Kearney, Bass Liberal MHA Sarah Courtney, West Tamar Cr Tim Woinarski, and Bass Liberal MHAs Peter Gutwein and Michael Ferguson at a potential site for a new school in Legana.

The Liberals have committed to boost the education budget by $207 million over four years, allowing for the employment of 227 more staff.

The recruitment will allow for 192 new teachers and 80 new teaching assistants at a cost of $69 million.

After the four years, it has committed another $117 million should it win a third term of government. 

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said this would allow for an extra 144 staff in the North and North-West, including 104 teachers and 42 teacher assistants.

He said over the six years of the Gonski 2.0 Agreement, there would be 358 more staff in the public school system.

“Our young people are our greatest asset, and lifting educational results is critical to them being their best and our State reaching its full potential,” Minister Rockliff said.

“A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will employ 250 additional teachers and 80 Teacher Assistants … over the six years.”

If re-elected, the Liberals would also build a $20 million primary school in Legana to accommodate more than 350 pupils, with the option to expand into a high school in the future.

West Tamar Council has pushed for a school in the fast-growing suburb for about five years, with Legana listed as one of the top 10 growth areas for the state.

The proposed school would help ease congestion on the West Tamar Highway during school times, and “take the strain” off other schools in the region, Bass Liberal MHA Michael Ferguson said.

The site for the proposed K-6 school has not yet been confirmed, with several locations listed as possibilities.

Bass Liberal MHA and Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the West Tamar Council’s Legana structure plan had room for infrastructure and roads associated with developing a new school.

Premier Will Hodgman said on Tuesday at Fairfax Tasmania’s leaders debate in Burnie that the state had fully funded the Gonski reforms, unlike other states.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said learning needed to be instilled in children at the start and talked up more investment in the state's Child and Family Centres.

She said there would be 201 full-time-equivalent teachers brought into schools, including 89 new teachers and 40 early learning teachers, at a cost of $34 million under her party’s education policy.

The party also wants 50 teachers transferred into schools from the Education Department, 30 teacher assistants and administrative staff employed, and 30 professional support staff, such as speech and language pathologists, school psychologists and social workers.