Widespread staff shortages continue to disrupt schools and early childhood education
centres. The staffing crisis now faces yet another complication, with essential education
workers being priced out of housing near their workplace.
This latest challenge highlights the precarious nature of school staffing.
The fact that teachers, even at the top of the pay scale, are unable to live and work in the same town
or in the local area adds to the intense pressure on schools trying to deliver high-quality education.
Research in the Australian Educational Researcher found that 90% of advertised teaching jobs are in
areas where teachers simply cannot afford to rent or buy a home. For new teachers on lower pay
rates, or support staff on limited part-time hours, options are especially dire and are leading to
unprecedented levels of housing stress.
Teachers and other essential workers are also denied access to work from home. The ability to work
remotely from more affordable areas is simply not an option.
School staff are forced to decide between worrying levels of household debt, or alternatively,
undertake lengthy daily commutes that exacerbate workload and excludes employees from the very
community that supports and services their school.
The IEU will continue to fight for higher pay; however, staff also need broader government and
industry intervention to restore access to affordable housing and ensure the viability of local schools.
The federal Labor government has taken some important steps, such as the development of the
Affordable Housing Accord late last year. However, the government’s Housing Australia Future Fund
Bill remains stuck in the Senate, along with the $10b it would provide to build affordable housing.
Our school staff need new and creative pathways to affordable housing in their communities.