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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 5027 ..

The Canberra Academy of Languages is currently able to issue credits to its students, but its accreditation is with the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies and therefore only works for students in years 11 and 12. We need to extend those opportunities into the lower years of school.

We need a serious action plan for second-language learning in the territory, one that responsibly pulls together the resources already at hand, seeks to create new opportunities and resources, and embeds into our schools a rational and consistent language pathway for our students.

Many of our students want this to happen and they would benefit from this happening. We can see their passion for learning in the example of the two Narrabundah College students who recently launched an online petition in response to finding out that their Indonesian course had been cancelled halfway through their studies without any known consultation.

We are the national’s capital. We have thriving multicultural communities, an abundance of diplomatic missions, committed community language instructors and more. In light of our situation we can and absolutely should be the nation’s leader when it comes to second-language learning opportunities. The Canberra Liberals are united in our commitment to that educational future. I commend the motion to the Assembly, as does Mrs Kikkert.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (6.21): I thank all of my colleagues for their contributions; and, in particular, Ms Lawder and Mrs Kikkert for their insight into and support for my motion today.

My motion highlights what I consider to be an important missed opportunity for this government in not getting the education fundamentals right. But we should not be surprised. This is just another in a growing list of failures under this government and this minister.

In recent months we have learnt about the discovery of asbestos in at least one ACT government school which the minister did nothing about until, apparently, she heard it from us. This begs the question of how much trust her own directorate has in her, in keeping her in the dark about such a significant issue.

We have had expert after expert raising the alarm about our slipping academic standards, to which the government’s response is, “The data is two years old,” and that “equity” will fix everything. Even the directorate’s own commissioned expert was forced to come out and slam the government for misinterpreting his findings, the very foundation on which this minister has placed her 10-year blueprint for education in the ACT.

We have seen the intervention of WorkSafe because of the abysmal failure of this government to protect our teachers in our schools. The Work Safety Commissioner was required to take the extraordinary step of slapping the directorate with an enforceable undertaking.

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