Teachers Offered $10K Housing Incentive to Move to Regional New South Wales

Teachers Offered $10K Housing Incentive to Move to Regional New South Wales
New South Wales public school teachers have endorsed a new wage agreement that awards the best teachers with a six-figure salary. Director-general of the NSW education department Michelle Bruniges said she hoped the higher pay would allow expert teachers to stay in the classroom. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Teachers who would like to move to rural, regional and remote communities in New South Wales (NSW) will be offered a $10,000 (US$6,900) incentive as part of a push to address shortages outside cities.

Educators who are new to a regional posting will be able to claim back the amount in stamp duty when buying a home in their school community, the government announced on Feb.8.

It comes as the NSW government claims teacher shortages are not an issue of demand for people in the role but a problem of deployment.

Late on Wednesday, the government posted a response to a parliamentary report on teacher shortages, which it said failed to acknowledge work that was already underway.

The government said it has been developing and implementing solutions to teacher supply challenges “in certain subjects and locations” for a number of years and claimed to have filled almost 8000 permanent teaching positions in 2022.

“Because of these efforts, the state is no longer on course for a teacher shortage in the simple terms of supply and demand. Rather it is facing a deployment challenge,” the government response stated.

The parliamentary report, tabled in November, recommended strengthening the supply of quality teachers in regional communities as one of three key priorities.

The other priorities were growing the supply of teachers overall and encouraging more teachers to train in high-need and specialist areas.

The NSW Teachers Federation recently said shortages were worsening, with 3,300 permanent positions vacant in November and a 30 percent decline in the number of people studying to become a teacher.

At the start of this year, the government launched a pilot program for rural teachers offering a range of resources and benefits to help them build social and professional connections.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said on Wednesday a one-off $600 incentive could go towards activities like registering with a local sporting team, signing up for art classes or having coffee with new friends.

“We want to reduce the level of social isolation experienced by new teachers who have moved to the country and improve retention by encouraging them to build a sense of belonging in their communities,” she said.

Eligible teachers can already access up to $40,000 on top of their base salary, plus an additional $20,000 recruitment bonus, under a rural and remote incentives scheme used by 1700 teachers in 2022.

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