Page 1504 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022

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These unions represent the workers who understand these complex problems best. This government is determined to listen to the public schoolteachers, leaders and school staff, and work with them to understand and respond to these complex problems. In particular, we have partnered with the AEU to form the teacher shortage task force, which is methodically working to identify the root cause of these complex issues and, piece by piece, tackle their solutions.

We trust and respect our teaching professionals here in the ACT, which is why we are working with them, through their unions, to find solutions that will work in the ACT context. We have already made significant progress with the introduction of a centralised relief teacher pool and a suite of workload reduction measures, including reduced reporting and two additional planning days this term.

We also know that retaining teachers in the profession is really important. For example, the UC Affiliated Schools Program, which is unique to the ACT, is all about providing teachers at the start of their careers with opportunities to practise their craft before they even step into the classroom. Once teachers have started in our system, they are supported with mentoring and high quality professional learning.

Of course, we know that we cannot stop there, and there is much more to do. The teacher shortage task force is continuing to examine these challenges, and we are looking forward to getting great outcomes for teachers and school staff in the upcoming bargaining round.

This work is not easy, but I am proud that we have been able to work together with the union to do the hard work of addressing the national teacher shortage here in the ACT. Of course, Mr Hanson forgot to mention this work that is already occurring when he did his interviews today.

I would like to finish by thanking all of the unions, school principals and the P&C council for continuing to work well with us, and with me, to get the best possible outcomes for public education.

I would again like to congratulate the celebration of the ACT public school system, as well as, this week, the gathering of leadership here in the ACT, in their conference, on continuing on their own learning journeys. School leaders and teachers and school staff across Canberra are doing an incredible job, and they are doing it well, under the most challenging circumstances. Canberrans should be proud of them. I am proud of them, and this government is proud of them, and we will continue to work with them to overcome these challenges.

I commend the amendment that I have moved in my name. I thank Mr Hanson for bringing this important motion to the Assembly today and giving me a chance to talk proudly about and really talk up our public schools here in the ACT.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.25): I rise to speak to Mr Hanson’s motion and in support of the amendments circulated by Minister Berry. I would like to note that the amendments circulated by Minister Berry go to the “notes” section of Mr Hanson’s

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