WIMMERA teachers believe the State Government's move to take performance pay off the negotiating table dispute could mean a resolution is close.
Premier Denis Napthine announced yesterday the government would remove performance pay from the equation in the interest of resolving the dispute.
The two parties have been disputing for two years, with teachers in pursuit of reducing contract employment, lowering class sizes, increasing salaries and solving workload issues.
The union also put a ban on overtime, encouraging teachers to refuse to work more than a 38-hour week.
Performance pay, suggested under previous premier Ted Baillieu, had angered many Wimmera teachers, who believed it would pit teacher against teacher.
Horsham West Primary School assistant principal and union sub-branch president Dino McMillan was thrilled with Dr Napthine's announcement.
"That was a big issue with us - it was the one thing that really concerned us," she said.
"We're not selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door - you can't measure our performance by how many sales we've made.
"I think it's wonderful that it's off the table."
Mrs McMillan said the dispute had carried on long enough.
She said performance pay would hurt students rather than help them.
"We're really pleased that's off the table. That's a step in the right direction," she said.
"Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel with this new premier."
Stawell Secondary College teacher and union sub-branch president Catherine Mackay said performance pay was a divisive issue.
She said performance could not be measured accurately.
"I think it's a good thing performance pay is no longer on the agenda," she said.
"It really doesn't reflect how schools and teachers work. This is a co-operative environment."
Ms Mackay said she hoped the two parties would come to a resolution soon.
Horsham College teacher and union sub-branch president Graeme Wilkinson said scrapping performance pay negotiations was a positive step.
He said there was no rooms in schools for that pay system.
"I would be very doubtful that it would improve morale or performance," he said.
"It could well pit people against each other."
Mr Wilkinson said students had missed school camps because of the overtime ban.
He said he wanted a speedy resolution to the dispute.
Dr Napthine said the removal of performance pay negotiations was a significant move.
"The Coalition Government has made a major move today in the spirit of compromise and in good faith to settle this longstanding matter," he said.
"It will also give the Coalition Government the opportunity to consult with parents, teachers, principals, unions and other stakeholders, to devise the best performance pay system, which we can apply in our government schools.
"We want to explore opportunities to better reward good performance in the future."