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October 22, 2021

NSW ed department replies over cleaning budget cuts

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Nationals MP, Sarah Mitchell,
NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning

Further to claims by unions representing teachers and school cleaners that there is insufficient funding, an NSW education spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘The cleaning hours provided at each school are based on the floor area and surface finishes at the school, to ensure equitable application across the state’.

‘Contractors clean the schools in accordance with a set of standards developed by the Department of Education and Public Works Advisory (PWA).

‘The standards ensure that the schools are clean and ready for occupation at the start of each school day’.

‘The NSW government has allocated $250 million to employ additional cleaners of schools and other public infrastructure, and the department is working with PWA and the cleaning contractors to deliver enhanced cleaning during COVID-19.

‘The schools have been informed that they will receive an enhanced daily clean that focuses on hard surfaces that are regularly touched (i.e. hand rails, light switches, door handles) and ensuring desks, tables and chairs are wiped down every day.

‘Delivering on this enhanced level of clean has required PWA and the department to negotiate directly with the cleaning contractors to ensure they have the capacity to deliver, and to ensure the department complies with all relevant fair work and workplace legislation. Cleaning of public assets is being co-ordinated with other government agencies and departments to ensure an enhanced cleaning standard is achieved across the wider community.

‘At schools where there has been a confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the department implements a cleaning program that is in accordance with Australian standards and based on advice and requirements provided by NSW Department of Health.

‘[Last week], the Department moved to provide continuity of learning for all students both on and off campus and the premier, for practical reasons, encouraged parents to keep their children at home if they could. 

‘Detailed breakdowns by area are not available at this time but initial figures from schools indicate that student attendance yesterday was significantly decreased with a state average decline of 74 per cent’.

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  1. Let’s come clean on what the unions representing teachers and cleaners are trying to say.
    Insufficient funding is about the size of the problem and it is not just about their pay.
    A NSW education spokesperson told The Echo that across the desk the students needed to shine with clear and transparent thinking and that started from the floor up.
    There are flaws to be rectified and the spokesperson said that ‘The cleaning hours provided at each school are based on the floor area and surface finishes at the school, to ensure equitable application across the state’. Students then would shine.

  2. I wonder how many people reading this story are aware of the allocation of hours for cleaning of schools. The hours are so tight and do not reflect the additional clutter and furniture that teachers cram into their rooms.
    A demountable building is allocated 12 minutes a day to vacuum, clean bins, mop the wet area, clean the desks, clean entry glass, wash wet area benches, and wipe and dust benchtops and computing equipment. When you consider the little things like walking between buildings, unlocking and locking doors, and packing up equipment, 12 minutes goes pretty fast.
    Not only are cleaners treated like rubbish and worked into the ground, but the truth is, the ongoing time cuts leaves little room for absolute cleanliness when it is truly needed.


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