Teachers want answers over $13b figure

The Baillieu government has refused to reveal how it calculated its controversial claim that a 12.6 per cent pay rise for teachers over three years would cost Victorian taxpayers $13 billion.

The Australian Education Union has accused the government of deliberately misleading the community after it said on Thursday night that the teachers' pay claim would cost Victorian taxpayers $13 billion and was "therefore unsustainable".

After Fairfax Media repeatedly requested a break-down of the figures, a spokesman for the Minister for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall, said they could not be provided due to the "confidentiality of the talks".

The government also refused to explain the calculations behind its claims last year that the teachers' former pay claim of a 30 per cent pay rise would cost $14 billion.

Union state president Meredith Peace said the relatively small difference between the $13 billion claimed cost of a 12.6 per cent pay rise and the $14 billion claimed cost of a 30 per cent pay rise "doesn't make any sense".

She said the $13 billion figure was misleading because it implied the union's compromise wage claim of 12.6 per cent over three years would cost an additional $13 billion, when the government was probably referring to the total cost of teachers' wages over three years.

"The premier has made promise after promise which he has broken and now they continue to mislead the community when they should respect the negotiations and resolve this dispute," Ms Peace said.

"The point needs to be made that what is unsustainable is the high level of contract employment ... what is unsustainable is them continuing to break promises and not invest in the public education system."

Shadow Minister for the Teaching Profession Steve Herbert said the government's figures "appear to be all over the shop".

"They've gone into good faith bargaining and yet now they are back to the negotiating table they threaten legal action and put out what appears to be dodgy figures," Mr Herbert said. "What's good faith about that? They appear to be undermining the negotiations."

The union and the government have agreed to meet again three times next week to continue discussions.

Despite the resumption of talks, the government has not backed down from its threat to take legal action against the union after it refused to call off industrial action this term, including a strike on February 14.

However, the government refuses to comment on whether it will seek an injunction in the Federal Court before next week's meetings.

The union is seeking a 4.2 per cent pay rise a year and a reduction in contract employment.

It had originally sought a 30 per cent pay rise over three years consistent with the Coalition's pre-election promise to make Victorian teachers the highest paid in the nation.

This story Teachers want answers over $13b figure first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.