Page 740 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022

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MR STEEL: I thank Mr Braddock for his question. We have seen a more culturally diverse workforce in Transport Canberra and City Services. One of the reasons for that is that we have been advertising, and targeting particularly taxi drivers, who may be wanting to undertake more secure work, government work, working for Transport Canberra and getting paid better working for us than they could in a different industry.

We have seen our community become more diverse, and the workforce is reflecting that. We have a strategy around this that sets the direction for the people and activities that we have as a priority. We have a focus on purposeful leadership, attracting the right people, providing a great employee experience, providing creative pathways for people in employment, as well as shaping a diverse and inclusive workforce. Those priorities have shaped over 50 actions and commitments and we will be working towards each of those under the ACT public service diversity framework.

Calwell High School—remote learning

MR CAIN: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, following the investigation by WorkSafe ACT that found that at least one ACT school was unsafe for teachers and students, parents were informed that years 7 and 8 would be moving to remote learning due to COVID, not due to the prohibition notice. Minister, why didn’t that notification include the real reason that students could not attend their school—that it was unsafe to be there?

MS BERRY: Calwell has been experiencing a shortage of staff, and has been able to have priority access to the relief pool. COVID has had an impact on that, and it has meant that there are staff shortages at that school. Fortunately, the years 7 and 8 cohort already had a prearranged excursion in place, so we were able to move those students off the school site, to ensure that there was an opportunity for that school to respond to the WorkSafe notice, and to ensure that there was appropriate engagement with the Education Directorate to meet the requirements under the WorkSafe notice.

MR CAIN: Minister, what official information has now been given to parents about the WorkSafe prohibition?

MS BERRY: There was information provided to the parent community that there had been an incident previously, prior to the WorkSafe visit at the school. Parents were aware that there was an incident at the school. The WorkSafe issue refers to the safety of the staff within that workplace, and it has been posted within a staffroom, in consultation with the school staff, as per the requirements under the notice.

MR HANSON: Minister, why did your directorate hide the real reason from parents that their kids could not go to Calwell school? That is what they want to know.

MS BERRY: Madam Speaker, we have just spent this whole afternoon talking about teacher shortages within our schools. It is a teacher shortage that has been experienced across the country, including here in the ACT. Calwell has also been a victim of those teacher shortages, including because of COVID.

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