Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3337 ..
MR PARTON: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, some of the most compelling facts in the AEU report are quotes from teachers themselves. One quote states:
‘I have been teaching in the ACT for 25 years. The job/expectations have changed drastically over this time, with an increase in workload, accountability, paperwork, duties, family expectations and so on AND a decrease in resources, respect, job satisfaction.’
‘I feel extremely sad that myself, and so many other teachers feel this way. I feel let down by the system …
Minister, why has there been a decrease in resources, respect and job satisfaction over the last 25 years, when workload, accountability, paperwork and duties have increased drastically in that same time—the time that has been the life of your government?
MS BERRY: I am very pleased that the Canberra Liberals have finally started to take notice of the Australian Education Union and the important work they do in representing teaching professionals in our government schools, and the work that they have done more recently in surveying their members to understand what is going on within our school communities, to understand their needs as well as the pressure that our teaching professionals are under.
There has been no reduction in funding. All of our public schools are funded above the student resourcing standard. Indeed we are, of course, acutely aware of the value of our teaching professionals here in the ACT. That is why they are the highest paid and have some of the best working conditions in the country.
MR PARTON: Minister, does your government accept responsibility when teachers say they “feel let down by the system”?
MS BERRY: As I said, and I will say it again, that is why we undertook to work with the Australian Education Union to set up this task force, to understand the issues that are facing teaching professionals in our government schools. Understandably, the last two years have been incredibly difficult, but they have risen to the challenge, and I congratulate them on, and absolutely thank them for, their continuous, tireless work in providing a great education in our public schools.
MR HANSON: Minister, why are teachers saying that they do not feel respected?
MS BERRY: As I said, they have worked tirelessly over the last couple of years, particularly during this pandemic, and for years and decades before that. I have committed to the AEU, as I have said, to develop and put together this task force, to understand what more we can do to ensure that teachers feel respected, not just by their government but also by their community, their students and their peers, while