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Western Teacher

Three key things in 2023

By Matt Jarman

Welcome to 2023 – a year of immense challenges for the State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia and of great opportunity for public education.

In this, the SSTUWA’s 125th anniversary year, it is an incredible honour to succeed Pat Byrne as president of the SSTUWA; though I will admit it is also a little disconcerting to follow such an inspiring and dedicated servant to public educators and public education.

Pat’s contribution at state, national and international level can never be underestimated. We thank Pat and hope we can achieve half as much.

I say “we” because replacing Pat is not a one-person operation – it takes a talented team. I am therefore delighted to have Natalie Blewett, Sharmila Nagar and Mary Franklyn to work alongside.

As general secretary, Mary has positioned this union more strongly than ever before in terms of growth and financial stability.

Natalie brings to the role of senior vice president a magnificent record in developing our membership at both new educator and other levels.

Sharmila has established the foundations for an environmental, social and governance approach that will help the SSTUWA deliver its services in a manner fitting for the times and we will be looking into alternative models of member engagement.

These senior officers are guided by an executive that combines rich experience with dynamic people who are the next generation of leaders for public education.

Among many other opportunities looming for the sector, three stand out for me.

Later in 2023 the negotiations will commence for new general agreements (GA) for both the schools and TAFE sectors.

Your union will seek to build on the gains made in the 2021 agreements, concluded just last year. The key factor was giving the $1,000 salary cap the boot.