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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3984 ..

induction program, fewer face-to-face teaching hours for beginning teachers, and six additional professional learning days in their first three years on the job.

The agreement also introduced the class size policy, reduced the face-to-face teaching hours for primary teachers, and created a new school principals health and wellbeing program. Importantly, we also introduced the nation-leading mandatory occupational violence training, with bi-annual refresher training. That agreement expires in 2022. The ACT government is committed to bargaining in good faith with the AEU to improve the working lives of public school teachers. The EA will, of course, need to be supported with resourcing to make sure that it can be implemented as it is intended.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge again the incredible work of our public school teachers, not just this year, not just last year, but every year before that. The work that teachers do changes lives. Every day, they are making a significant difference to our children and young people. Every day, teachers are also joining their union. They are working collectively to improve their pay and conditions, and that is how we achieve real change.

The ACT government is deeply committed to public education and is deeply committed to working with union members to improve working conditions. These are core Labor values. I will continue to work with the Australian Education Union to make the ACT the best possible place in the country to be a public school teacher.

I commend my amendment to Mr Hanson’s motion to the Assembly.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.59): I thank Mr Hanson for bringing the motion to the Assembly today. Based on my consultations with the Australian Education Union, I am pleased to say that the ACT Greens will support the amendments to the motion moved by Minister Berry.

I appreciate, particularly after the year we have had, the opportunity to rise in this place and speak to the awesome impact and great personal sacrifice public school teachers make to their profession and the contribution that sacrifice in turn makes to our community. That applies be it Mrs Oliver, my year 2 teacher, whose words still ring in my head, reminding me that red is no faster than any other colour when I had that argument when drawing a red car; be it Ms Nesbitt, who ensured in year 7, when I was well behind my contemporaries, that I did almost all my primary school education in one year; or be it Mr Palavestra, my high school teacher, who made sure that I actually had a suit that fitted for my school formal.

As recently as a year ago, I made a commitment to this place that I would be a passionate advocate for public school teachers, public school students, public school parents and, importantly, the union. If there is one thing that the Canberra community and Canberra workers can get out of this motion, it is that now is the time to join your union. Joining your union and engaging deliberatively in their consultative processes means that your voice might one day, too, be part of a painfully embarrassing rebranding exercise by the Canberra Liberals. Just think of how effective your contribution to your union’s deliberative democracy processes could be.

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