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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4144 ..


initiative been followed through?” Where is it up to? What is the time line?” Ask those questions. That is what people are supposed to do. Sweeping comments such as we have seen in this chamber today do not further progress in this space.

The Greens recognise that this is an issue that is of great importance to the Canberra community. Our teachers work hard to provide our young people with the best opportunities for their futures, and in return we owe it to them to provide a safe and supportive working environment. While I am concerned at the level of intervention that WorkSafe has seen necessary to undertake on this issue, I believe that the enforceable undertaking that the directorate has agreed to indicates a genuine commitment to improvement.

On one level I am encouraged that WorkSafe has taken this so seriously. There has been criticism in this place at times that WorkSafe has not done enough to scrutinise issues of workplace safety. We have seen some concerning examples across the city. So on one level, I am quite encouraged that WorkSafe has pursued this so strongly. The important part now is for the directorate to actually respond to the areas that have been identified as shortcomings.

The undertaking outlines a significant investment and a range of practical activities that will help teachers and staff to feel safe at work and prevent these kinds of incidents into the future. I do believe that the minister’s amendment provides a way forward that recognises the seriousness of this issue and ensures that the government will be accountable for its commitment to improvement.

Teachers are a crucial part of our education system—and our society as a whole, for that matter. They play a central role in the lives of children for the formative years of their development. The importance of teachers is something that cannot be understated, as we discussed during the debate on the matter of public importance yesterday afternoon. That is why providing sufficient support, professional development and resourcing for our teachers is fundamentally linked to good educational outcomes for our children. There is more work to do on this issue. I believe we have a pathway to achieve better outcomes for our students and teachers. The Greens will be supporting the amendment.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (10.58): I am pleased to rise today and speak to Ms Lee’s motion and Ms Berry’s amendment. This government believes every child has a right to a good education and support for the personal challenges that some students face. At the same time, everyone has the right to feel safe at work and go home safely from work, including, of course, our teachers and other staff within schools.

The ACT government is committed to creating safe and supportive learning environments for all students and staff in 87 schools. The government’s future of education 10-year strategy is guided by the principle of equity, access, inclusion and student safety. We want our schools to be inclusive places for all children, while ensuring that our teachers and staff are safe. An important way of achieving this is by appropriately managing complex needs and behaviours, sometimes from vulnerable students who are dealing with many issues beyond school.


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