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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3101 ..


government needs to ensure that commensurate services in rehabilitation also be made available, and abundantly available.

As the Minister for Mental Health knows, often comorbidity of our population with alcohol and drug addiction issues for those with mental health concerns means we have a lack of satisfactory service in the mental health space and a rehabilitation community-run sector which is not as accessible as some struggling with addiction and the misuse of drugs and alcohol would desire, and they struggle to access these services. I encourage the minister to include rehabilitation in the next drug strategy action plan, including residential rehabilitation as a useful aspect for the wellbeing of those affected by drugs and alcohol.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Schools—COVID-19

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.52): Today I want to reflect on the extraordinary efforts of all staff, students and families in ACT education during the recent tumultuous months of the COVID-19 pandemic. From ACT public schools to our independent and Catholic schools, what an outstanding job has been done to support Canberra’s students through the recent lockdown and then welcome back those students to classrooms.

The ACT’s educators care deeply about the safety and wellbeing of Canberra’s 82,000 students. Educators understand the particular position of trust they hold in the community, and they have worked diligently to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for their students on their return. I want to pay tribute to the principals, teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly in schools, our early childhood workers caring for our youngest students, and those providing out-of-school-hours care throughout the lockdown. I acknowledge the constant efforts of our cleaning workforce, who are on the front line of keeping students and staff safe.

A particular word of thanks also to our Education Directorate staff. Like so many ACT public servants, they have worked around the clock and every weekend since the start of this most recent outbreak. Education’s response to the pandemic is of course a collective effort. I bring the Assembly’s attention to the hard work and support of the P&C Council, the ACT Principals Association, the Australian Education Union, the Community and Public Sector Union, the United Workers Union, alongside the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools.

To ACT families who have done an amazing job supporting their children during lockdown, I want to acknowledge your patience, resilience and endurance during this difficult time. I also want to mention those who participated in our back-to-school survey. More than 6,000 parents, students and staff gave valuable feedback which has helped shape our successful return to campus. Great effort and innovation have played


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