FOR SA WEEKEND MAGAZINE dream homes edition Martin Hamilton-Smith's renovation tips. The old kitchen in their new house in Stirling.
FOR SA WEEKEND MAGAZINE dream homes edition Martin Hamilton-Smith's renovation tips. The old kitchen in their new house in Stirling. Tricia Watkinson

Epic fail on teachers’ housing

TEACHERS sent to some of the most challenging schools are being placed in homes with rotten floors, broken stairs, mould and tank water that makes them vomit.

Complaints from teachers in the past two years have been accessed under Right to Information legislation, which also reveals also reveals delays and complications in resolving problems and a struggle of recruiting due to lack of facilities.

One complaint mentioned a two-year wait to have airconditioning fixed while tarps were still used to cover homes as a "band aid measure".

Others relate to teachers arriving at new schools to find homes that don't lock, mould across ceilings, teachers using UV lights to find 42 cat urine stains, grey water running straight from sinks across the lawn and unclean tanks that render water toxic.

Queensland Teachers Union President Kevin Bates. Picture: Claudia Baxter
Queensland Teachers Union President Kevin Bates. Picture: Claudia Baxter

In that case the person reported how drinking the water made people vomit so they had been driving 90 minutes to town to purchase bottled water at their own expense.

Other complaints related to delays in getting approval for satellites to be installed in remote areas that have patchy mobile phone reception.

The complaint stated that otherwise teachers had to walk around outside seeking a signal in places where it is not safe for them to be outside at night.

The Department of Education and Training redacted the names of schools the documents indicate the worst complaints are from remote areas.

A department spokesman said more than 2300 housing units were used and it was committed to providing quality accommodation.

The spokesman said DET owns 540 homes, 1400 were rented through the Department of Housing and Public Works and 400 through private owners.

"It should be acknowledged that a number of our housing units are in remote and harsh climatic environments that experience extremes of temperature," the spokesman said.

He said the department was investing $5.36m in to maintain the DET-owned stock of houses and $13.59m a year for the next three years to "improve its teacher housing stock in rural and remote areas".

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said an audit estimated the repair and renovation bill for teacher accommodation at about $1 billion.



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