Victorian Education Department set to shed hundreds of jobs

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Victoria’s Education Department is set to cut more than 300 jobs, with staff informed of the planned cuts in a meeting late on Thursday afternoon.

The proposed changes, which will not affect school staff, would lead to a reduction of 325 full-time equivalent jobs.

Education Minister Natalie Hutchins.Credit: Justin McManus

In a proposal delivered to staff and seen by The Age, the department said the recent state budget included savings and efficiency targets for all government departments.

“Over recent years the department’s workforce has grown to be over 5000 public service and teaching employees,” the proposal said.

“In the context of the current environment, it is important that we now reset and ensure we are set up to deliver on our commitments to government and all Victorians.”

The cuts will mainly be achieved through structural reform and the removal of duplicate staff. Executives are not exempt from the process.

The department said it would support affected staff with a range of options for redeployment.

“The proposed changes have been made with careful consideration; however, we understand that workforce changes can be unsettling,” the proposal said.

No changes are proposed to the current overarching structure of four regions and 17 areas. All regional offices will also be maintained.

A spokesperson for the Community and Public Sector Union said it would work closely with its members in the Education Department over the next few months to provide positive alternatives to save jobs.

They said the department would be held to the government guidelines, which focused on finding jobs within the new structures for all those who wanted to continue working with the public service.

Department of Education secretary Jenny Atta said in an email to staff on Thursday afternoon said the department would consult staff and the union to achieve savings across key areas including regional services, administration, IT functions and central governance.

“I understand that this may be a concerning time for some people and want to remind you that there are supports available to you, including the leadership team,” she said.

The cuts come amid a continuing staffing crisis for teaching.

Schools have struggled to fill vacancies for months, with principals heading back to the classroom and classes being combined due to a lack of staff.

Comment has been sought from the state government.

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