Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 June 2022) . . Page.. 1788 ..
I have, for some time, been hearing from teachers and students about the dire straits in which this premier institution finds itself. That is how students and teachers describe it. “It is toxic, a terrible workplace; don’t work there,” warned one teacher. She goes on to explain:
Management and senior management are toxic. They keep contractors hanging on for jobs until people leave, stressed, deflated and lacking any confidence.
Others tell us that there is no job security. There is no support for employees. Contracts are short term, sometimes only eight weeks. There is no loyalty. I wonder how many of these issues can be attributed to the money being spent on mentoring the senior executive, rather than on properly resourcing and supporting the teaching staff. Imagine what a difference $10,000 a day would have made at the chalkface! If the minister had been up to his job, this situation would not have come about.
Students, likewise, tell us that it is the worst system of education they have encountered. They talk about lack of communication, lack of resources and lack of staff availability, all of whom appear to be working part time. It appears to be a common complaint from teachers and students: lack of support, lack of resources and general incompetence by the senior management. Maybe they did need mentoring after all, but maybe if that $8.87 million had been spent on staffing matters these comments would not have arisen.
Maybe if the minister had been up to his job, vetted the contracts properly, he could have directed the funding into more appropriate channels, supporting teaching staff and students. Instead, the minister failed to act, failed to put the needs of students and teachers first and failed to consider the effects of his inaction on the institution and the broader Canberra community. I wholeheartedly support the motion put forward to this Assembly expressing no confidence in the minister and his inability to properly manage his portfolio.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (10.28): Of course we will not be supporting the opposition leader’s motion. The contributions that we have heard this morning could best be described as a word salad of hyperbole, throwing around terms like “decency” and—
Ms Lee: Read the contract. Have you read the contract?
MR BARR: You have obviously been reading them overnight and then have just regurgitated a version thereof in your speech, Leader of the Opposition.
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Members!
MR BARR: You have obviously absorbed a little bit of that—or whoever writes your speeches for you—because what you have produced this morning is just a word salad