Page 412 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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MS BERRY: Well, the ACT government’s Education Directorate and our schools are well prepared, should the unfortunate circumstance arise that we do need to go to education outside of schools as a result of the impact of COVID on the teaching workforce within our schools.

We have a number of supports available online through Google classrooms to provide students and their families with educational tools for a period of time, should that be required. We will give as much notice as is possible; however, COVID has challenged us with being able to provide more notice than we would like and, sometimes, these decisions need to be made quickly. But I understand, and I know I receive communications from my school regularly, for my own kids, and that communication is going out to all schools on the situations as they arise within schools. I am confident that schools will provide as much information and advice as they possibly can, should those schools need to close, in close consultation with Health.

Women—International Women’s Day

DR PATERSON: Minister, we celebrated International Women’s Day earlier this month. How was the day recognised in the ACT?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Paterson for her question. And this year on 3 March, I was really proud to host, again, the 2022 ACT Women of the Year Awards, and it was a chance to be able to present ACT women’s awards to some of Canberra’s amazing women.

In addition to the awards themselves, I was able to hold a reception for the ACT Women of the Year Awards finalists, and this was an opportunity for me to personally congratulate them on their achievements and to hear more about the work which they are doing and which they were nominated for, as well as to thank them for their ongoing contribution to the status of women and girls in the ACT. This year, the ACT Women of the Year Awards also celebrated the biennial update of the virtual ACT Women’s Honour Roll.

The ACT government is committed to fostering gender equity in Canberra workplaces, including through improved gender equality and leadership, and workforce participation. Our second action plan of the ACT women’s plan includes a really strong focus on the construction industry. On International Women’s Day this year, I hosted a morning tea with several members of the construction industry to hear firsthand about some of the challenges being faced by women in the industry—namely, insecure work and the casualisation of that workforce.

I also had the opportunity to meet with participants in the ACT government’s Return to Work program workshops. This program supports women who have been out of the workforce due to caring responsibilities, with skills to apply for work and to get back into the workforce.

On the evening of the International Women’s Day, monuments around Canberra, were lit up in purple in recognition of the day. In the lead up to International Women’s Day

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