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Upper House MP Tim Quilty says immunization rates justify unvaccinated teachers allowed to return to work | Border mail

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WODONGA politician Tim Quilty wants the Victorian government to end its mandate to vaccinate teachers against COVID-19. The Victorian-era Upper House MP believes that this requirement is no longer necessary and that unprotected teachers should be able to return to classrooms. “I think they should be allowed to return to work, we have indeed exceeded the mandatory vaccination rates that we need,” Mr Quilty said. “The government has the immunization rates it needs, now it’s just an exercise to prove it’s in control.” Mr Quilty’s appeal comes as unvaccinated teachers risk losing their pay over summer vacation. They were told that if they could not prove that they were fully vaccinated or medically exempt by December 18, they would not be paid from that date. If they finish their shooting during the holidays, they will be reinstated and may receive an arrears of salary. Wodonga School Board President Paul Thorpe said his wife teacher Lana fell into this category after being on leave since October. He says the salary withdrawal conflicts with advice given in October and he believes his wife is entitled to work-based pay throughout the year. Mr Thorpe, who declined to identify his school, said he received a double blow but his wife did not agree with the vaccine. “She doesn’t think it’s necessary for her health or to protect the community at large and she is concerned about the vaccine in particular, as are a third of Australians in May this year,” he said. Mr Thorpe said his wife had been a teacher for 31 years and hoped that a term would be removed so that she could return to Wodonga Senior Secondary College in 2022. The Victoria Department of Education estimated that 99.6% of teachers are fully immunized and therefore comply with government regulations. Mr Quilty disputes that figure, saying he is aware of 630 and has been contacted by dozens of unimmunized teachers. “I think there are a whole bunch of numbers left outside of the numbers, there are dozens of them in Albury-Wodonga that are not vaccinated,” he said. Mr Quilty suggested NSW could drop its mandate to vaccinate teachers and leave Victorian students without educators. However, a spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education gave no indication that its obligation to protect against COVID would soon be dropped. “The overwhelming majority of our school and corporate staff have responded to the mandate of the COVID 19 vaccine, which applies to all public sector employees in NSW,” he said. “Under the Public Health Ordinance (PHO), full vaccination is a condition of employment. “All school staff who have returned to school since the end of the October lockdown have had to comply with the PHO, unless they have a medical waiver.” With the recent PHO extension, he is illegal for unvaccinated staff or visitors to be on school grounds. “Ultimately, it is an individual’s choice of whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to continue their work with us.” Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community . Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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