Retired Teachers Association

Allan West

Armidale RTA forms

Armidale Retired Teachers Association had its first meeting on June 24 at Armidale City Bowling Club with President Peter Dooley, Treasurer Margaret Finley and Secretary Anne Parnell, who can be contacted on aparnel2@une.edu.au.

Teacher scholarships

Terry Jones represented RTA on June 30 at Federation’s Annual Conference at Darling Harbour. He met the two RTA trainee teacher scholarship recipients: Jordyn Pol, a student of Aboriginal descent, from Forster, currently at Newcastle University; and Mackenzie Burge from Gorokan, currently at Macquarie University, whose parents are both teachers. Both students were enthusiastic for teaching. Federation was very appreciative of the RTA’s support for future teachers.

Dying with Dignity

At our June 14 meeting, Terry Jones introduced Richard Mills, who spoke about the need for an Advanced Care Directive — Living Will — the appointment of an Enduring Guardian. Voluntary euthanasia is more popular and many countries have already approved it. More information can be obtained from Dying with Dignity NSW at dwdnsw.org.au or on (02) 9212 4782. Mr Mills’ $200 speaker fee will be donated to Dying with Dignity NSW.

Jennie George AO

The RTA congratulated Jennie George who was made an Officer of the Order of Australia recently. Ms George was General Secretary of the NSW Teachers Federation from 1980 to 1982 and President of the ACTU from 1996 to 2000 before entering the Federal House of  Representatives.

Children at risk

It was moved by Enid Hokin that the NSW RTA expresses grave concern at the callous disregard by the NSW Government, and particularly Pru Goward, Minister for Community Services, with the decrease in funds and support for children and families assessed as being at risk. Children are dying brutal deaths because there are insufficient caseworkers available to see children about whom multiple reports have been made.

Alison Peters, Chief Executive of the NSW Council of Social Services, points out a significant cut in funds for early intervention programs for families in need of help with drug and alcohol problems and improved parenting skills. Senior caseworkers and non-government agencies have also raised their serious alarm at the shortfall in funding. Ms Peters has called for a $20 million increase in funding for early intervention programs. NSW budget papers reveal a cut of $14.4 million from 2012/13 to 2013/14 for the services. Ms Goward’s glib response was that the cuts were due to changed accounting methods. Ms Goward admits that her Department sees only 27 per cent of children at risk, but boasts that this is better than the 21 per cent seen under Labor.

Condemn the “bedroom” tax

Shirley Bains moved that the RTA condemns the Department of Community Services for its decision to impose a “bedroom” tax on elderly tenants in public housing. It is a cruel and unjustifiable imposition on people already struggling to survive.

Instead of suggesting that such pensioners should move to another location, away from family and friends, the State Government should be building new accommodation for younger families who are homeless. Families are not homeless because the elderly are selfish in wanting to stay in houses they have occupied for many years. They are homeless because successive state governments have not invested sufficient capital in public housing.

Casualisation a threat

Shirley Bains moved that, with an ever-diminishing number of teachers being offered permanent positions in NSW, the casualisation of the profession is a threat, not only to the education of children, but to the strength and influence of our union. The RTA believes Federation should consider appointing a casual teacher coordinator, and that the Council and Executive should discuss and plan ways for recruitment and involvement of casual teachers in action to secure permanency in their employment.

Congratulations to the ABC

Enid Hokin moved that the RTA congratulates the ABC on its extensive response to NAIDOC Week with many fine programs on Indigenous issues on both TV and radio, commencing with the Australian Story on the life of Dr Yunupingu. We recommend that the ABC continue to highlight stories on Indigenous people and history throughout the year. Such programming could be an important contribution to the national discourse on the inclusion of Indigenous people in the Australian Constitution.

Library luncheon

The annual Jessie Street National Women’s Library Luncheon will be held on September 16 at noon at NSW Parliament House. Tickets are $100 each, and Dr Anne Summers will be the speaker.

Volunteers wanted

SPELD NSW, which provides services to children and adults with specific learning difficulties, requests tutors in outer western Sydney and country NSW. Phone Carolyn on (02) 9739 6277 or email enquiries@speldnsw.org.au for more information.

The National Maritime Museum requests retired teachers to volunteer as guides. Phone Amelia on 0415 323 066 for more information.

Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blog site is rtansw.blogspot.com.

Social News

Sydney
For more information contact Allan West or connect to the RTA blog at rtansw.blogspot.com or Federation’s website at nswtf.org.au.

August 5: Tour of the Choice testing labs at 10.30am, 57 Carrington Road, Marrickville. The cost is $21 and lunch is extra. Phone Don on (02) 9979 4390.

August 13: Luncheon at Bowlers Club, 99 York Street, Sydney at noon.

Wagga Wagga
Phone Geoff Amos on (02) 6922 5108 or email amosglje@bigpond.net.au for more information.

September 17: Croquet

Armidale
Email Anne Parnell at aparnel2@une.edu.au for more information.


Next Meetings

Sydney
August 9: 12.15pm lunch; 12.40pm talk by Maurie Mulheron; 1pm Mark Gregory documents labour movement songs; 2pm meeting.

Wagga Wagga
August 20: Riverina NSWTF Office, Weedon Chambers, Cnr. Gurwood and Trail Sts., Wagga Wagga Guest Speaker: Anita McRae, Sunflower House

Armidale
September 2: 6pm.