Page 840 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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The next thing I am asking for is for the government to deliver on its election promise. The Labor Party went to the last election and said, “We are going to have 400 new teachers.” It said:

As Canberra continues to grow, a re-elected ACT Labor government will make sure that our public education system grows with it. Deputy Leader Yvette Berry said ACT teachers were there when we needed them most—ensuring our children continued to learn during COVID-19 restrictions.

Teachers are the most single important factor to secure good educational outcomes for students. The Labor government has made sure that the public school teachers remain the highest paid in the country and a returned Labor government is committed to attracting and retaining a workforce of great teachers and other school staff. That is why we will hire more than 400 teachers.

Where are they? Where are these teachers? The minister promised them. She said that she was going to deliver 400. If you look at the number of school teachers that have resigned and the number that have been recruited, what is that figure? What is the nett number of new teachers? According to this minister it is going to be 400.

We are running out of time, are we not, members? We are now coming up to halfway through this term and this minister promised there would be 400 new teachers on the ground. I do not know where they are. As far as I am aware, they are struggling just to recruit new teachers to make up for the ones that have resigned, let alone 400 new ones. Is that going to be a broken promise? Was what we were being told about 400 teachers the truth, or was that something that they said before the election but never had any intention of delivering? We will await the answer.

The next point—my last point—is about accelerating the infrastructure program to provide adequate learning spaces. We do not want kids being taught in converted libraries, in corridors and in demountables. Accelerate that infrastructure program. I think that is reasonable. So the “calls on” in my motion are things that members should support and welcome. If government members do not support this motion today, it will be clear evidence that they are failing to support our teachers on the ground. (Time expired.)

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.08): We will not be supporting Mr Hanson’s motion today, but I will be speaking in defence of public schools. It is disappointing, however, that Mr Hanson continues to spend his time in this place attacking public education. Public schools have been working incredibly hard, in the middle of a national teacher shortage and an international health pandemic, to continue to provide a great education for our children.

In terms of public school funding, I can assure the Assembly that this government is making record investments in public education. I know that Mr Hanson is desperate to make his colleagues on the hill look good at the moment, but here he is not fooling

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