Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3482 ..
The community has been calling for maintenance. It has been crying out for school maintenance. What is this government’s response? More demountables. Some of the demountables that were meant to be in schools for a couple of years have been there for decades.
Mr Assistant Speaker, you were in the estimates hearing. I do not think anyone who listened to that—I got phone calls from a number of people—had any confidence that this government either was across the issues in the first place or had an effective plan to respond.
I would like to make some final points, Mr Assistant Speaker. A lot of this has happened under this government’s watch. A lot of the problems we are seeing now in terms of school capacity stem from the fact that this government and the current Chief Minister closed down 23 schools a while back, in 2006. This is a government that is burning teachers out, that has let schools fall apart, that has closed 23 schools. We have seen a real problem with academic standards, particularly numeracy and literacy, across the board. Then, when we see this budget, we see a minister who does not even seem to be across the brief and has no plan to respond to these concerns.
We have seen funding not being where it needs to be. From 2009-10 to 2018 the federal government increased its funding to ACT schools by 26 per cent. Over the same period as the increase in funding by the federal government, funding from the local government decreased by 3.2 per cent. The tables are in the paper I put out. The argument that “We are putting money in; the feds are dudding us” is not true. That is the go-to answer from this mob; it is not true.
We will continue to call out the problems here. We have put out a paper that outlines the issues. It is an honest appraisal of the issues, and it is backed up by the union report. We have provided a way forward. But there is a lot of work to do. It is clear that this budget will not address the systemic issues for teachers who are burning out. The academic standards that we have seen from the Auditor-General, the ANU, the Gratton Institute, the Australian Institute and others are not where they should be.
There is the infrastructure, across the board. I have had correspondence from a number of P&Cs who have said, “There is nothing for us in this budget.” They have real problems in their schools in terms of infrastructure; there is nothing for them in the budget.
Mr Assistant Speaker, I am disappointed. I think teachers, parents and P&Cs will be disappointed. This government does not seem to accept that there is a problem. If you cannot accept that there is a problem, how on earth are you going to resolve it? I am disappointed, but on this side we will continue to fight for our frontline teachers, who we know are bearing the brunt of this government’s mismanagement.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.35): I thank Mr Hanson for his ongoing support of local small businesses like coffee shops! It must have taken an awful lot of caffeine to manufacture that level of confected outraged this early in the morning; I appreciate it.