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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4685 ..


That is what his friends are saying about this process. It is not just the Liberal Party saying that this process is bad. It is not just the parents of the affected students saying that this process is a sham. It is also groups like the Australian Education Union saying that it is a sham.

We did hear from a number of parents and advocates at the forum this week, and I would like to acknowledge a number of them who are in the chamber here with us today. Their views should be heard. They should not be asked to bear this disproportionate burden because this government will not make savings in other areas, because this government has blown its budget, because this government cannot control its programs or its spending. They are saying: “Well, lump it. Vulnerable kids should have to cop it.”

And there are a number of other areas—this is why this motion is important and why it should be supported—which are still potentially on the chopping block. We have seen a partial backflip, but we still see the following positions that are uncertain: school counsellor; early intervention preschool support teacher; support teacher for English as a second language; teacher for behaviour management; post-school options classroom teacher; disability support officer; teacher and SLC positions allocated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literacy and numeracy program; and English as a second language. There are a number of these which are still on the chopping block.

This government has not been listening. I would like to quickly read out a letter from Isla Smith, a concerned parent, which was sent to Mr Barr. I hope it has now been responded to; I am not sure if it has. The letter is addressed to Mr Barr and it says:

I know you are a busy man and you must see hundreds of letters, much like the one I write to you—different appeals for different reasons. But I wanted to somehow pen some words that you might remember—that even stand out in your mind because, ultimately it is you that will sign off on whether our Vision Teachers are reduced from four to three.

Please do not do it Mr Barr. Please!

When you and I were at school we could see to read the text on the blackboards, or the words in books. We could write in our schoolbooks, see our teachers face, exchange funny looks with the girl or boy sitting next to us, and play equally in the playground.

However, there are a group of about 55 students at ACT schools who find it very difficult to do these simple things. My son is one of them. Moreover, there are four highly specialised Vision Teachers here in the ACT who make it possible for these beautiful children to do everything their sighted peers are doing. Everyday!

I know this because I am the mother of one of these students. My son, Rory is legally blind. I have seen first hand how the expertise of a dedicated and fully trained Vision Teacher makes it possible for my son not only to keep up with


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