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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 March 2011) . . Page.. 932 ..


MR SESELJA: Minister, when did you or your office first become aware of this matter and have you taken a briefing on it from your department? If yes, what was the nature of the briefing? If no, why and when will you take one?

MS BURCH: I became aware of the minutes. I received a copy of the minutes yesterday, Monday. I did ask the department for an explanation. I have certainly received an explanation and the manager involved in that meeting has certainly provided information to me that I have confidence in. This is not a conspiracy theory; this is a manager that recognises that inquiries are sometimes difficult and challenging things to participate in, and he was merely offering staff his support and guidance should they want it. That person has indeed made contact through the chief executive, expressing his regret at the language used in the minutes because it did not reflect, in any way, shape or form, the intention of the meeting.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, has management in any other area of your department made similar statements to their teams? If yes, which teams and what have you done to ensure that this practice is not more widespread?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mrs Dunne. As I have said, every bit of correspondence from my office, my conversations from the executive right through management, have been for an open and frank participation in this review and, should I come across any evidence to the contrary, there will be consequences. I urge all staff to be involved in this review and to provide the level of information that they can from their circumstances and their position that they are able to provide comment on.

MRS DUNNE: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what will you do to investigate the allegation made by the sacked woodwork teacher on 666 this morning that staff have been actively discouraged from meeting with the review team?

MS BURCH: I have asked the department to vigorously pursue their commentary around an open and frank participation in this review.

Mrs Dunne: What does that mean?

Mr Coe: Does that mean “their commentary”?

MS BURCH: It is comments, it is letters, it is correspondence, Mr Coe. The comments from the previous woodworker: my department has written to the Department of Education and Training asking them about what they are doing to investigate those allegations, and I look forward to that response.


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