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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3983 ..

In order to tackle the issue of workload, the task force has developed a system to collect data on the frequency of split classes, streamlined how the Education Directorate communicates with school staff, and agreed to a moratorium on new programs for term 4.

The task force has improved recruitment processes by simplifying school leader recruitment, delivering a centralised exit survey for all public school staff, and agreeing to remove barriers to teaching positions being converted to permanent jobs, in line with the secure work conversion policy.

Work is underway on the national and international recruitment campaign, which I have talked about previously, to attract teachers to ACT public schools. Of course, the work there is not finished. The government will continue to work with the Education Union, representing their members, to address the issues that they have raised.

The task force has an ambitious agenda for the new year. In 2022 the AEU and Education Directorate joint task force will tackle the teacher transfer process that enables school leaders to move within the public school system. The task force will also work on an alternative to the current casual relief system. This is the only arrangement of this kind that we are aware of in the country, where the government has come together with the teachers union to jointly work on solutions on the teacher shortage—to even acknowledge that it exists. No other government has given teachers a seat at the table in the same way. That is because this government values public school teachers.

In this year’s budget, we also invested in public education. In this budget, funding to public schools increased from $829 million last year to $872 million this year. This will result in approximately 90 extra teachers and school staff across our public schools. Twenty-five additional youth and social workers will take the pressure off teachers, supporting student wellbeing, and additional teacher librarians will provide extra literacy support in public schools.

In bargaining, I want to acknowledge that some of the change that is needed to address these issues will be more structural. That is why my amendment to Mr Hanson’s motion includes the need for the government to bargain in good faith with the union in the upcoming enterprise agreement negotiations. I am proud of the current enterprise agreement, which saw the AEU achieve significant improvements to teaching pay and conditions for their members. The ACT government will continue that approach to bargaining in the upcoming negotiations.

The current teachers agreement has seen salary increases of $172 million and improvements to conditions of work of $36 million. The salary increases of three per cent per annum place public school teachers in the ACT as the highest paid in the country. The agreement also increased superannuation to a total of 11.5 per cent.

In recognition of the importance of keeping new educators in the profession, the agreement increases supports for new educators. We have introduced a five-day

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