2004 was a bonanza year for the State’s public school teachers, according to Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter.
“A pay rise, tax deductible mortgage payments, brand new, cut-price laptop computers and the opportunity for graduates to earn more than $55,000 - there has never been a better time to be a teacher,” Mr Carpenter said.
Teachers in public schools were the beneficiaries of a bountiful bevy of benefits implemented by the Gallop Government and designed to raise the status and standard of the teaching profession.
“Teachers received a pay rise of up to 14.5 per cent over two and a half years under the State Government's teachers’ EBA,” the Minister said.
“As a result, in 2005, first year teachers straight out of university can now be among the highest earning graduates in the State with an annual starting salary of $40,620 and opportunities to earn more than $50,000 in some rural and remote schools.
“From 2005, school principals in WA’s larger schools will be able to earn more than $98,000, increasing to over $101,000 in 2006.”
Mr Carpenter said the State Government also offered teachers working in remote and rural locations many allowances and financial incentives, such as subsidised housing, additional leave and earlier permanency.
“On top of that, more than 8,000 teachers in regional and remote locations can now salary package rent and mortgage payments, resulting in even more take home pay,” he said.
“It’s almost too good to be true - but it is true! The savings are in the thousands of dollars a year and are the sort of thing teachers have only ever dreamed of having.”
Thousands of public school teachers would also benefit from the State Government's ongoing $37million Notebooks for Teachers Program.
“More than 10,000 public school teachers will receive new-model notebook computers next year,” Mr Carpenter said.
“And we have made it even cheaper for teachers who will now have to pay only $5 a week to participate in the program, down from the existing $7.30 a week.
"We will also provide $3.45million to further develop the 'Learning Gateway', an on-line education network that will eventually link teachers with their students and families."
The Minister said the Gallop Government had recruited an additional 954 teachers since being elected to office in 2001.
He said an additional 1764 education assistants had also been recruited to help children with special needs, an increase of more than 39 per cent.
Minister's office: 9213 6800