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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3386..


MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what assessment have you or your department made about the effects of these unstainable workloads on your OH&S obligations?

MS GALLAGHER: That is something that is done every day. Managers deal with that in the hospital every day with workloads, making sure they address workloads. This is something that is just part of the job out there at the hospital, responding to what walks in every day and making sure that staff are working in a safe environment. That is the responsibility of managers. My understanding is that everyone is pulling together to make sure that in what comes out of, I guess, the issues that we have seen at the maternity unit over the last couple of months we get an improved service out of it and that staff are feeling better supported in the workplace. As to any noticeable impact on workers compensation or claims or anything like that, there has not been any.

Schools—Information and communications technology education

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the steps that the ACT Labor government and the federal Labor government are taking to further improve information and communications technology access for students in ACT schools?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for her ongoing interest in quality education outcomes in the territory. The government believes that literacy and numeracy are the building blocks of a well-rounded education. That is why we have worked with the federal government on the national assessment program and the My School website, to ensure that literacy and numeracy outcomes are measured and that students and schools can get the help they need to succeed.

But in this 21st century there is a new element to basic literacy that forms the building blocks of a good education and that is ICT literacy. That is why back in June of 2006 the ACT government committed to a $20 million, four-year program, smart schools: smart students, to deliver a range of ICT upgrades to ACT schools.

An important part of this program was the rollout of a superfast broadband network to all of our schools. The new fibre network will provide the basis for the new connected learning community—virtual learning environment currently being rolled out across the entire public education system. The VLE gives students the ability to listen to past lessons as podcasts and to video link with other students for language practice. It gives them a range of exciting opportunities to log in from home to double check their homework requirements and to create online portfolios of work. In short, students will be able to learn anywhere and at any time.

The new technology will be extended in the future to help parents and carers be more involved in their son's or daughter's education. There are currently eight ACT public schools piloting the new system and all schools are expected to be online for the start of the 2011 school year. Wireless networks have been installed in 27 schools, predominantly at primary school sites, and plans have been completed to install over


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