Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2022) . . Page.. 922 ..
MR HANSON: Why have you been keeping parents in the dark and then attacking their comments when they are raised here in the chamber?
MS BERRY: Mr Hanson has completely misrepresented me. Of course, I have not, and I absolutely have a deep sense of compassion, sympathy and concern for the parents, staff and the whole school community. That is why I ask that we reflect on the kinds of questions and conversations that we have in this place, after a particularly difficult time for that school community.
The Education Directorate, I and my office have been ensuring that supports are available at that school to get them through what is a difficult time. Yes, there have been issues at the school that meant supports were being provided. However—and I know Ms Lee really does not like hearing this—the facts are that COVID has exacerbated that situation. That is the fact of the matter. It is not an excuse; it is not about laying blame. It is a simple fact that we are going through an international health pandemic, and staff shortages, exacerbated by COVID, have meant that the issues at that school have become more challenging. That is the fact of the matter.
What I am doing, and what the Education Directorate is doing, is trying our very hardest to support that school community to recover and to have a more positive start in the second term of the school year.
Calwell High School—safety
MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the minister for education. When asked yesterday during question time whether fire systems at Calwell were in good working order, you stated, “Yes, I believe that they are.” It has now been revealed that your directorate was issued with a further WorkSafe notification prior to your false answer yesterday, which is, “related to fire extinguishers which had been relocated due to students using them as weapons.” Minister, why did you say fire safety systems were in good working order yesterday when they were, in fact, removed because they were being used as weapons and an additional two WorkSafe notifications had been issued?
MS BERRY: There was a prohibition notice, which was the question that I was responding to yesterday and required a response immediately to the fire extinguishers being accessible. The two additional notices are improvement notices which are different from a prohibition notice. We are now responding to—
Mr Hanson: On a point of order.
MR ACTING SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, on a point of order.
Mr Hanson: The question is for her directly. Yesterday the minster was asked if the fire systems at the school—
MR ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order, Mr Hanson?
Mr Hanson: It is on relevance. She is trying to deflect this and say that it is directly to a prohibition notice; it was not. The question relates to yesterday she was asked