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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5317 ..

disability, the students and their families. The inquiry considered, in the terms of reference, the findings of the Shaddock special education review on leading international and Australian practice in curriculum and pedagogy for students with a disability.

It is important to make the point that the inquiry brought together a range of highly qualified witnesses. Parents came and gave evidence or put in written submissions and there were education practitioners with first-hand knowledge of managing students with a disability. We have their views, and they were taken into account by the committee when making the recommendations. It is important that we look forward to the government response, but it is also important that the Assembly and the government respond to those recommendations.

In the Assembly inquiry report, as I said, there were 30 recommendations; 18 of these call on the Department of Education and Training to implement measures aimed at assisting teachers, students and parents. This work will improve the lot of teachers by targeting areas identified by witnesses in the inquiry. This week the department issued their disability education strategic plan for 2010-13. It is incredibly important that we have a plan, but the critical part is how that plan is implemented. It will be interesting to see how the recommendations and evidence from the inquiry report are taken into account in the implementation of that strategic plan. It is pleasing to see that in that plan the number one strategic priority is to ensure that teaching staff are trained, qualified and well supported. The plan sets down the need for quality professional learning that targets a cooperative and collaborative team approach to supporting students with a disability.

I also want to raise the issue that has been around in regard to the efficiency dividend cuts—the proposals around the efficiency dividend. There were, in the first instance, proposals around blind and vision-impaired children. As we know, those decisions have been overturned. The latest paper from the department, on 19 October, states:

The efficiency dividend has no impact on the quantum of resources provided to schools, or on Learning Support Assistants employed by schools.

I understand that some parents have organised a meeting to discuss this. I have received notice of a meeting this Sunday. I have contacted one of the organisers, who said that it is being held because there are parents who are still confused. They very much want to just clear the air so that parents of children with a hearing or vision impairment are clear that those cuts have been overturned and will not be proceeding. It really is important that the minister and department clarify that directly with the parents.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.58): I welcome the opportunity this MPI gives me to highlight some of the measures that Therapy ACT is involved in to support teachers who assist students with a disability. Developmental disabilities place students at a greater risk of compromised educational outcomes. This is why this government considers the provision and support to teachers working with students

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