Page 1937 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023
MR HANSON: Minister, is it really acceptable that high school students will be watching movies or playing board games instead of learning?
MS BERRY: These are short-term measures that need to be taken as a result of the covid and flu season that the ACT is experiencing and it means that sometimes in our school communities there will be a shortage of teachers, where they cannot be replaced. So, for the short term, teachers manage a system of school and education for students until the school teaching workforce can be returned.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, regardless of the winter flu season, is this not just a symptom of there being not nearly enough teachers or resources in our schools?
MS BERRY: While Ms Kikkert is correct that there is a teaching workforce shortage in the ACT and in the country, it is something that education ministers across the country are working on to ensure that we can continue to recruit but also maintain the numbers of teachers within our workforce. Actually, the ACT government has provided an enterprise bargaining agreement to the teachers in our ACT public schools which provides the highest wages in the country and also commits to some of the workforce and workload challenges, working closely with teachers and their union to ensure that the workplace for existing teachers remains the best that it can possibly be, but also making sure that they recruit people from other states and territories or countries who want to come to work in the ACT, knowing that they will be the highest paid.
Canberra Health Services—outpatient waiting lists
MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Minister for Health. The Auditor-General's performance audit report into Operation Reboot noted that the initial budget submission from ACT Health sought to rollover around $30 million due to an underspend from the 2019-2020 budget. Subsequently, CHS underspent $2.2 million from the allocated $3.5 million and failed to deliver almost 60 per cent of the appointments promised.
In a recent pre-budget announcement you promised to deliver 2,500 more outpatient appointments each year. Similarly, ACT Health and CHS only spent $96 million out of $186 million for their capital works program expenditure 2022-23 as at 31 March 2023.
How many initiatives in the 2023-24 budget are from rolled-over funds due to underspends in the 2022-23 budget?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I think across all of my portfolios there are one or two initiatives that include some funding that has been rolled over. Primarily, that is in the Community Services Directorate’s space. Ms Castley, I would point out, has collated a lot of different pieces of information, so it is hard to understand the point of her question.
What I would point out in relation to the outpatients and Operation Reboot is that the additional outpatients were more than 6,000 additional outpatient appointments that were delivered. One of the points that the Auditor-General made was that we needed a