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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 October 2018) . . Page.. 4091 ..

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Members on my left, it is apparent that the minister is going to stop answering while you are interjecting. So I would suggest that you remain silent. Minister.

MS BERRY: I instructed the Education Directorate to make occupational violence a priority. We now have a policy and a plan in place to address this very difficult issue, which is more than can be said for the Liberals who have done nothing but attack unions and their members and the right of a worker to be safe at work.

These teachers and school staff want to do what they are passionate about and support children regardless of how they learn. This policy which has been implemented in ACT schools is going towards addressing this very difficult issue, making sure our schools are inclusive and making sure that our teachers are safe.

MR WALL: Minister, why have you allowed teachers to be attacked in their classrooms for two years? Can you inform the Assembly what, now, is the policy in place to protect a teacher from student bite attack?

MS BERRY: I am pretty sure that I tabled this policy when I made the announcement. If I have not tabled it, I will. As I said when I tabled the announcement on the policy and plan for occupational violence in our schools, it is going to be a difficult issue. I said that we would get increasing awareness raised around this, because the only way that a policy can be properly implemented about this difficult issue of keeping our school staff safe and ensuring that every child is included in our schools, regardless of their background or how they learn, is for teachers to tell us what is going on.

We have asked for that to happen, and it is happening. There is an increase, and there will continue to be an increase, as we work out how we address this difficult issue. We are working closely with the union. We are working closely with teachers, schools and parents to make sure that our schools are inclusive and that our workers in schools get to go to work safely and get to leave work and get home safely.

MS LEE: Minister, when did you first become aware of the problem of assaults on teachers in schools, and when was your first meeting with the Education Union on occupational safety?

MS BERRY: Good: they have finally officially asked when my meeting with the Education Union was. I can get that information—

Mr Coe: You could have given this information without us asking, you know.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Coe, the question has been asked. Will you allow the minister to complete the answer.

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