Page 503 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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In relation to the published AEU guidelines Mr Doszpot’s motion refers to, the ACT Greens’ reading of the material is that the AEU’s position is broadly in line with the existing Education and Training Directorate’s policy and procedures on managing high temperatures in ACT public schools. My understanding is that the AEU guidelines are a policy position they are pursuing through ongoing negotiations with the directorate.

The main point of difference, as I understand it, relates to a threshold for both preparation for and response to extreme temperatures. The AEU believes members have a right to decline to teach in situations where classroom temperatures are lower than 17 degrees Celsius or more than 30 degrees Celsius, while the directorate is focused on where forecast temperatures are expected to exceed 32 degrees Celsius. I believe this specific issue is best left to the unions, the teachers and the directorate to sort out. I am not sure the Assembly is in a position to make a detailed policy decision on it at this point in time. The people who need to be talking about it are talking about it, and I implore them to work together to find a suitable outcome.

Having made those remarks on some of the details, I think the substantive concerns of Mr Doszpot regarding the comfort and health and safety of students and teachers in our schools are good points. I am happy to support Minister Burch’s amendment that will see an update provided to the Assembly on improvements to energy efficiency in heating and cooling needs in ACT public schools. This seems to draw out the information Mr Doszpot is seeking. It puts a time frame on it, which is not in the motion, and I note there is a specific deadline of providing the information by the last sitting day in June. That is an improvement on Mr Doszpot’s motion because it puts a time line on it and means this Assembly will receive the information in a specific and timely manner that can be marked in people’s diaries. It will provide all members of this place with an opportunity to review that information within the next few months. That is a welcome addition to the original motion. On that basis I will support the amendment moved by Ms Burch.

Mr Doszpot has put a view about some of the background information and Ms Burch has put another view. To me, the important part is paragraph (2)(a), which is about providing information to this place and making sure Assembly members can review that information. The addition of the time frame in paragraph (2)(a) of Ms Burch’s amendment is particularly beneficial. On that basis I will support the amendment today.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (4.03): I will speak to the amendment and close the debate at the same time. To say that I am not surprised about Mr Rattenbury’s stance is an understatement. I have quite a sense of deja vu here. The 17 September Hansard has the information from the last debate we had on this issue, which covered very similar items, if not identical. We had the same situation and my motion was completely cannibalised by Ms Burch, from “notes” to “action items”. It is worth recalling those action items.

Mr Rattenbury should keep in mind keeping the government accountable, having regard to what he did last time in supporting the government on a similar motion. The government’s amendment to the previous motion on this subject said:

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