Page 810 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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practices to ensure the safety of all workers in the ACT and eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. I present the following paper:

Work health and safety—Psychosocial hazards—Government response to the resolution of the Assembly of 30 March 2021—12 month update—Ministerial statement, 6 April 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (11.32): Just this morning, Mr Gentleman stood up and spruiked that the Labor Party are the party of workers, how good they are at standing up for Canberra’s workers, and yet we know that under the watch of this Labor-Greens government hardworking teachers and hardworking nurses have absolutely been abandoned.

The minister, in his statement, said:

Psychological injury impacts the health, wellbeing and financial security of workers and their families.

As if his woeful attempt at trying to defend the indefensible this morning was not bad enough, he delivered this pre-prepared speech without even a hint of irony, literally minutes after he had just voted to not protect Canberra’s teachers.

When he stands up and says that his government is addressing workplace health and safety issues without even a hint of irony, you just have to wonder what are the priorities when it comes to protecting Canberra’s workers, including our teachers and our nurses? He really should be ashamed of himself.

It is not just the Canberra Liberals that are saying it. Because, clearly, Mr Gentleman has not read the media release from the Education Union, I will remind him of part of what it says.

The action taken by the ACT’s work safety regulator is a damning indictment on the ACT Education Directorate and starkly highlights their failure to provide a safe workplace for our members and a safe school for their students. Since the AEU first raised safety concerns around the dire circumstances confronting staff and students at the Calwell site in 2021, the Education Directorate has continually failed to recognise and act effectively to address serious ongoing staff shortages, oversized classes and instances of occupational violence.

It goes on:

The fact that it takes a staff member to be seriously injured and the intervention of an external regulator to provide a degree of safety for the staff and students at Calwell High School demonstrates a lack of care on the part of the Education Directorate. Regrettably, the situation at Calwell High School is not an isolated case. With the union receiving staff shortage SOS calls from school staff across Canberra on a daily basis, we anticipate further interventions will and must occur.

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