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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3481 ..

And it is really not okay, Mr Assistant Speaker. Let me quote again:

“Things need to change. The amount of high-quality educators I know who want to leave the profession due to workload and occupational violence is appalling. We need to be respected and treated like professionals.”

“I feel extremely sad that myself, and so many other teachers feel this way. I feel let down by the system, all my years of hard work and experience is about to walk out the door.”

“I love my job, I think it’s the best job in the world, but in its current state it’s unsustainable.”

The report concludes:

The staffing shortage has revealed systemic issues for which a superficial solution will not suffice. It is not simply the case that ACT public education needs to recruit more teachers. It must also retain those we have, support them with adequate infrastructure, time for non-face-to-face work, provide relief so that they can take time off when they’re unwell, protect them from violence and the psychosocial safety hazard of extreme stress, and make sure their pay and overall conditions reflect their essential work.

I want to commend the Australian Education Union for having the bravery and integrity to put this report out. We have not seen it from the Labor Party and we certainly have not seen it from the Greens, but they at least have the courage to come out and confront the situation. What we have seen from the Labor Party and the Greens is continued denial. We heard it in June; maybe we will hear it again today.

Unfortunately, they are doing precious little to address this situation. This budget is an abject failure of our obligation to our education system. And the problems that I have just read out, the concerns that have been raised by teachers, unions, academics, the Auditor-General, P&Cs and parents—everybody is saying the same thing. The only people not agreeing, not accepting that it is a problem, is this lot.

The Labor Party and the Greens in this place are the only people in denial. The union is saying it; the teachers are saying it; the parents are saying it; the academics are saying it; the Auditor-General is saying it; the P&Cs are saying it. The only people not admitting to the problem are the Labor Party and the Greens in this place. They are the ones that have created it; that is why they are denying it.

Teachers are crying out for more staff. This Labor government promised 400 new teachers at the last election. Where are they? Where are these new teachers that were promised? How many teachers were in this last budget? I have asked that question about six times. We had 42 new staff, a drop in the ocean. How many qualified frontline teachers are going onto the front line to teach in classrooms? I still do not have a proper answer to that. I assume that the answer is none. We were told by the minister that there were 12 vacancies. I said, “How many vacancies are there?” “Twelve.” That is a nonsense. It is a nonsense to suggest that that is the case.

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