Page 2926 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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during COVID-19 public health restrictions and the associated workforce impacts on healthcare workers and corrections officers in quarantine or COVID-19 isolation.

Despite these challenges, our justice health team and Winnunga were able to manage COVID-19 outbreaks within the AMC to protect the health of people at particularly high risk from this virus. We also saw the continued implementation of actions from the Disability Justice Strategy, continuing the work of the previous minister with responsibility for justice health, Shane Rattenbury.

This budget continues our commitment to implementing the recommendations of the 2016 Moss inquiry through increased funding of $9.4 million over four years for the delivery of Winnunga services at the AMC. This includes funding for nurses, GPs, psychologists and administrative support.

As with our mental health work, there is more to do in justice health. I look forward to being able to provide updates to the Assembly on the justice health strategy that is currently being developed, as well as celebrating the successful rollout of the digital health record in the AMC this November. The use of the digital health record by justice health, Winnunga and CHS will make the sharing of important clinical information easier, while still protecting patient privacy. I commend this budget to
the Assembly.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Education Directorate—Part 1.4.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.35): I would like to start by offering my thanks and respect to our teachers and frontline workers in the ACT education system. I think we would all agree that they do an incredible job, working all sorts of hours in all manner of circumstances, and staying focused day after day to deliver for the children of our community.

Since taking this portfolio, I have been in touch with many of our educators and also with the Education Union. I have been encouraged by the common ground that we have struck. We share their view that the profession and the system are not getting enough support. We acknowledge the work that they do. We recognise the challenges that they face. We value their vital role in one of the most important parts of territory services. To our teachers, I say thank you.

Given that, it is notable that the education portion of this budget does not give them the support or answers they need. In fact, it is notable for the questions it does not answer. For example, one of the key topics raised by teachers and parents throughout the year was that of class sizes. The Education Union raised it in their report of last year entitled Under-staffed, under-resourced, under-appreciated: The teacher shortage and its impact on our schools. What the AEU said was:

When a school cannot source a relief teacher, it turns to ‘splitting’ or ‘collapsing’ the class—that is, distributing the students among other classes, or at worst, having one teacher run a class for two class groups of students.

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