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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2949 ..


Question resolved in the affirmative.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Adjournment

Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Schools—COVID-19

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (6.15): I want to tell a brief COVID story which I think has to be told. I want to tell you about our 17-year-old, Anna. Anna is our youngest. She is doing year 12 at a government college and she works as a casual at Kmart. She is a Netflix girl and a TikTok and Snapchat kid and she still plays a bit of Minecraft.

Despite being well connected by those digital channels, her life has been turned upside down during the COVID Delta outbreak in the ACT. Anna is a genuine social butterfly in that she gets most of her energy from social interaction with others. Her life flame is powered by those social interactions—social interactions at school, at work and after hours. As much as anyone I know, Anna has been crushed by the lockdown. Days and then weeks and months of not interacting face to face with her social group have robbed her of so much.

Then there was light at the end of the tunnel. Madam Speaker, you have no idea how excited she was when she heard the announcement from our education minister that face-to-face learning was returning on 5 October. I have not seen her that happy for a long time. 5 October was circled on the calendar as the day some form of normal life would return. She was looking forward to it in the way she used to look forward to Christmas when she was seven years old. She was actually counting down the days.

It turns out that it was just a mirage. It was a cruel sham which has knocked her for six again. I do not know exactly what happened between the announcement of face-to-face learning for year 12s and the arrival of the day, but it is simply not true to say that face-to-face learning commenced for year 12s on 5 October. It did not. It is an untruth.

The minister told us yesterday that some year 12s returned, and she mentioned some students doing rock climbing and abseiling and some students sitting tests. She was not able to answer questions about how many students have returned, whether it be a rough number or a percentage of the year 12 student group, either because she does not know or because the numbers are so low that it would make her look utterly ridiculous as the education minister.


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