Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4137 ..
complex behaviours and we have an overarching desire to educate all ACT students in an inclusive environment, but we have to accept and ensure that at no time should there be a compromise of anyone’s safety.
WorkSafe has directed more money to be spent on a number of initiatives, including policies and procedures, but previously well-intentioned policies and procedures have been found wanting in the past. So why do we think another policy, another couple of millions of dollars, will improve the situation? We have committed additional funds, but do we seriously believe this will solve the problem? It is the universal Labor Party fix-it-all: throw some more money at the problem.
We have heard for years that if only more federal money was spent on education we would not have underperforming schools. We need to rethink how we deliver education in the ACT. We need to objectively assess why we are failing our teachers and our students. It is, after all, Canberra students, Canberra teachers, Canberra families and the Canberra community that are being affected. Where is the responsibility on the part of the ACT education minister in all of this?
The WorkSafe report focuses on teacher injury, but what assessment has been done on student injury? What work has been done to address those concerns? We have had silent teachers too scared to comment, and I have no doubts that there are parents in our community who are worried about their children.
There are serious issues in ACT education. For too long we have cruised around them. We need to acknowledge them. We need to own the problems and take responsibility for finding solutions that are acceptable, measureable and sustainable, but it starts with acknowledging that there is a problem. The honourable thing for the minister to do is to make a public apology and to take full responsibility. (Time expired.)
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.38): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. I begin by correcting a couple of statements Ms Lee made. The Education Directorate or my office have not seen a report from WorkSafe. Of course we are not hiding from this issue—the information and data was asked for by Mr Wall at my first estimates meeting. This work has been occurring for some time and we have been working very hard to try to address this very difficult issue, rather than finding out about it by reading it in the Canberra Times a couple of days ago.
No-one should expect to be injured at work, and nor should they be. And our teachers and staff are no exception. People work in education because they want to make a difference. They want to make a difference in young people’s lives, and they usually get to do that. As most people know, schools are generally happy and safe places where students love to learn and engage with their teachers and friends. On occasion, however, there are incidents in which children—some of whom are vulnerable, are dealing with many issues beyond the school or have some special needs—might lash out and hurt a teacher or school staff.