Education cuts hit regional Queensland
MORE than 50 frontline teaching positions, including 32 in regional Queensland, have been axed amid 1140 full-time equivalent cuts to the Education Department.
Education Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek also confirmed 405 permanent staff had accepted voluntary redundancies while 359 temporary staff had ceased working since the March election.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk asked Mr Langbroek, during at a budget estimates hearing at Parliament House on Tuesday, about a question on notice his department had answered about where the teacher cuts had occurred.
She later revealed seven were lost in Central Queensland, six from the Darling Downs, 13 from the North Coast region, five from South-East Queensland, three lost in North Queensland and 18 from Brisbane.
"The premier said there would be no cuts to front-line services, yet this answer to the question on notice shows that over 40 teacher positions have gone. Can you please explain to the committee why those teachers have gone when the premier has said no front-line services will be axed?" Ms Palaszczuk asked.
Mr Langbroek defended the "tough decisions" and argued it had sought to move teachers not in frontline positions - including teachers with the chief scientist, the Queensland Museum and other arts agencies - back to the classroom.
He said this would actually result in an extra 270 full-time positions back on the frontline by the start of the 2013 school year.
"We approached this task (cutting 1140 FTEs) through reviewing non-front-line vacant positions that were funded but not filled across the department, examining non-front-line temporary roles that were due to cease or that could be ceased with appropriate notice to employees and identifying permanent positions that were considered surplus to the future requirements of the department's business needs," he said.
"Staff in these positions were offered the opportunity to be deployed or to accept a voluntary redundancy."
Ms Palaszczuk also questioned Mr Langbroek over whether he would centralise the Schools of Distance Education network, fearing services in Cairns, Emerald, Rockhampton, Charleville, Charters Towers, Longreach and Mount Isa would be run from Brisbane.
He said he would aware thousands of students took advantage of the service and his department was looking at ways to allow for technological advancement but would not rule out cuts or centralisation.
"We may not always do things the same way as we have done in the past," he said
"We know that Queensland is such a decentralised state and the service is provided to and used by parents from all different walks of life.
"All I will say about the School of Distance Education is that we will always look at reviewing the way we provide services.
"We will always look at different ways to do everything in my portfolio that could lead to better outcomes."