Will the $500 remote area payment be paid in Catholic schools?
Earlier this month, the Northern Territory (NT) government announced a $500 incentive payment for teachers and school support staff to remain in remote communities over the Easter break.
The payment was announced as part of the NT government’s Remote Community Schools Package, which aimed to protect vulnerable remote communities from the spread of COVID-19.
Eligible staff included any public sector teachers and school support staff in designated COVID-19 biosecurity areas who remained in their remote community for the duration of the Easter break.
The NT government has praised the success of the payment, which resulted in almost 1,000 public sector education staff remaining in remote communities over Easter.
Will Catholic school staff receive the payment?
Despite staff in NT Catholic schools displaying equal commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in remote communities, it is unclear if they will receive the incentive payment.
Our union has, this week, written to Greg O’Mullane, Director of Catholic Education NT, seeking confirmation that compensation will be made to staff in remote schools who remained in the community during 9 April to 20 April 2020.
In this correspondence, our union noted the longstanding principle of equivalence with public sector outcomes in Catholic education and outlined members’ expectation that this commitment to equivalence would be maintained.
We are awaiting a formal response from Catholic Education NT.
NT Organiser Jengis Osman said members’ commitment to protecting their remote communities, and supporting quality education under difficult circumstances, should be acknowledged.
“Teachers and school support staff in remote areas have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including adapting to changing learning environments and implementing health advice specific to remote communities,” Jengis said.
“Their dedication to the education and welfare of students in remote communities should be recognised by extending the $500 payment made to their colleagues in public schools.”
The NT has reported 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with only 5 of those cases still active.
Designated biosecurity areas in the NT, by local government area, include Tiwi Islands, West Arnhem, East Arnhem, West Daly, Roper Gulf, Victoria Daly, Barkly, Central Desert and MacDonnell.