When local teachers went to the polls they were hopeful about the changes a new state government would bring about.
But now they're left feeling "devastated and angry" by broken pay promises, Dubbo Teachers Federation representative Tim Danaher says.
"Our teachers had no hope for a very long time under the previous government," he told the Daily Liberal.
"But the bold pre-election promises from this government gave our teachers hope. And when they got elected the negotiations started immediately and agreements were struck not once, but twice.
"And for the government now to pull back on it is absolutely an act of betrayal and our teachers are devastated and angry. They know they will have to work longer and harder."
A deal negotiated between the government and the teachers union would have increased teachers' starting salaries from $75,791 to $85,000 in 2024.
Salaries for a top-of-the-scale teacher would have risen by $9000 to $122,100.
The agreement was all but locked in until the NSW government revoked it last week, the NSW Teachers Federation says.
Mr Danaher says the government walking away from the promises will only exacerbate the teacher shortages which have already led schools in Dubbo to merge classes and hold periods of minimal supervision on their ovals.
"We're already bleeding too many teachers from the lack of action on workload and the non-competitive salary, and now by not honouring this agreement the government has essentially condemned the profession," he said.
In June this year, the Dubbo electorate had more than 56 teacher vacancies, up from 44 last year.
Despite being flagged for priority recruitment, Mr Danaher said Dubbo College Delroy Campus - named one of the hardest schools to staff in the state - was still unable to get teachers in all classrooms.
"If there are 30 students per class, that's a lot of students whose learning has been disrupted and will continue to be disrupted unless something is done about it," Mr Danaher said.
Fair pay for teachers was one of Labor's key election promises in the lead-up to the 2023 state election and was touted as a way to address the chronic teacher shortage.
"A lot of our teachers voted for a change and voted for a government that, in Chris Minns' own words, was known for fixing education," Mr Danaher said.
"Well this is not a good start to fix education."
Reneging on deal 'unprecedented', union says
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said a government walking away from a pay deal so close to completion was "unheard of" and "unprecedented".
"In my decades of experience, never before has a government walked away from a deal in the way that we are experiencing now," he told reporters in Sydney.
Responding to the union, education minister Prue Carr said she remains committed to her promise to improve teacher pay and conditions. She said the government wanted to offer teachers a multi-year agreement, which featured a "very significant uplift" at the start.
"One of my highest priorities as minister is ensuring a significant uplift in teacher salaries," she said.
"Raising the pay and conditions of NSW public school teachers would go a long way to helping solve the teacher shortage crisis that was left by the former Liberal National Government."
Minister Carr said one of her first acts as minister was to instruct the Secretary of the Department of Education to begin pay negotiations with the NSW Teachers Federation.
She urged the union to come back to the table.
"We began this process with the Federation both wanting the same thing: to value and respect our teaching workforce. Our shared goal is to make new teachers the best paid in the country," minister Carr said.
"That remains the case."
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