Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2850 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
have a good education system is: help the good teachers to stay; you actually support them, because good teachers are what will bring value to our education system. I think most people will recognise the significance that a good teacher can have in anyone's life.
Some of the issues in particular that we need to be looking at in the ACT include easier access to professional development, resources for school and community partnerships, increased therapy support for students with a disability-that's a crying need. I think it's an absolute scandal the number of therapists we still have operating in this territory. I think there are two occupational therapists across the whole of the ACT; the physiotherapists and speech therapists working in schools are so overworked.
If you look at the turnover in staff, you will understand that their morale collapses when they have to make absolutely horrendous decisions about whom they are capable of supporting. They have to make choices between children that they will help. And I'm not talking about the luxury of "we'll give them a little extra lesson"; it's about "will I help this child learn to walk or that child learn to walk?"These are the sorts of challenges that are confronting therapists who are actually staying in the system and trying to work. We need to have that in mainstream schools, of course, as well, because that's an extra load on the teachers who are trying to deal with these issues.
We also have to see a boost in equity funds that will take off some of the pressure on teachers and allow them to feel more in control of their work and deliver a better service to students and the community, as they would dearly like to do, on the whole.
Perhaps then the best teachers will want to stay in the ACT system and new teachers will have an opportunity to develop their skills and be keen to progress. It can't be done without putting more resources into the system and into teachers salaries.
It's also important that we get a handle on the broader questions of balance in our community. Not only must we resource the school system generally at a sufficient level, we need to provide the support to families and communities that is needed; we have to shift away from the high-energy, profit-centred economic and social system that is growing unhealthy people on an unhealthy planet; and we have to build in the environmental social benefits we want.
MS DUNDAS (8.27): Mr Speaker, the marketplace economy in which we live assigns dollar values to work that individuals do. We reward people who have special skills, have received special training or have to undertake risks in the course of their work. Thus highly gifted athletes are allowed to command large salaries, likewise doctors and miners. However, as I am sure we are all aware, the market economy doesn't always work. Female footballers, for example, who are equally skilled if not more than their male counterparts, are massively underpaid by the standing on which we pay our male footballers.
The failures of the market economy are particularly exemplified when governments sometimes interfere. There are particular sets of workers employed by governments whom we know are not adequately remunerated. Nurses are one; teachers are