Page 2253 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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New South Wales last week and recommended a ratio of one counsellor to 500 students?

MR BARR: I am aware of this and other coronial inquiries in other jurisdictions that have made a number of recommendations relevant to those particular jurisdictions and the education systems within those jurisdictions. As I indicated in my previous two answers to Ms Hunter’s questions, the ACT brings a broader approach to student welfare and matters of bullying than simply school counsellors.

There are a variety of other support workers that can assist in creating an environment within our education system that is supportive of all students. Two particular examples this year that we have sought to pursue have been dedicated forums across the city, engaging schools from all three sectors—public, Catholic and independent—and focusing, in the first instance, on tackling cyber bullying and, in the second instance, focusing on homophobia within our education system.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, in order to recruit and retain school counsellors, what measures have you taken or are you looking into, such as increasing their salaries, recognising that the majority hold dual qualifications and can earn considerably more in the private sector?

MR BARR: Again, enterprise bargaining arrangements are underway for future agreements in relation to these particular professionals within our education system. As I indicated in my opening response to Ms Hunter, we did work with the Australian Education Union in relation to freeing up some of the fairly restrictive industrial relations practices that were in place. I think it is a general observation one can make of the education sector, particularly the public education sector, that its industrial arrangements are stuck somewhat in a 1970s mindset. We do need to reform, and the government is seeking to achieve this through its current enterprise bargaining offer.


MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on 29 July 2006, at the ACT ALP conference, the left wing put forward a resolution which proposed the end of funding to non-government schools.

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Let us hear the question—

Mr Hargreaves: No, Mr Speaker; there is sufficient information before the Assembly for me to make a point of order, and that is that the Chief Minister is not responsible, in her portfolio responsibilities, for anything that comes out of any conference at all.

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