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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 August 2017) . . Page.. 2818 ..

is not just something to feel good about; it has real benefits for students and their families. Socioeconomic and racial and gender diversity have been shown to be beneficial for student results and social understanding. Also, we cannot ignore the commitment our teachers make to our students. At the 2016 AEU teachers awards the AEU recognised two proud Canberra teachers for their lifelong pledge to promoting public education in their schools and the wider community. Heather and Andy Wardrop joined the AEU at the very beginning of their teaching careers, on the same day in 1976. Seemingly destined for one another, their AEU membership numbers ended with 21 and 22. Throughout their careers their commitment to educating young Australians from every background has not wavered. They each live and breathe the values of public education, so much so that in each other they found their soulmate. Having contributed 83 years of loyal service to public education in the territory, Heather and Andy have maintained a strong commitment to ensuring their colleagues and students receive the best outcomes possible. In their commitment to public education, the Wardrops exemplify the significant contribution our teachers make to a better Canberra.

This ACT government is committed to ensuring that every Canberran has access to an education in a safe and encouraging environment. Your sexuality or how you identify should not act as a barrier to education. I have already stood in this chamber to record how proud I am to be an elected representative of in the most LGBTIQ-inclusive city in Australia. Today I am proud to stand in solidarity with my colleagues in support of the ACT Labor government’s commitment to an inclusive school environment and our continued funding of the safe schools program.

This budget delivers $400,000 to support our school communities in ensuring that everyone in our community is treated with respect and dignity and is able to participate in society regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This continues the work already undertaken by the ACT Labor government in ensuring our LGBTIQ community is supported, including the creation of the office of LGBTIQ affairs and the implementation of laws which remove discrimination and recognise the love shared by all Canberrans.

In addition, this budget commits us to hiring five more school psychologists to ensure our students are receiving the mental health services they need. The impact bullying and mental health have on a student’s education cannot be ignored, and I am proud to be a part of a government taking this step in the interests of the wellbeing of students everywhere in this city.

As a member of the ACT Labor government I commend our record in providing ACT students with a pathway to employment, inclusion and lifelong learning. I believe this budget delivers on the promises we have made to the ACT and offers a path forward for better student outcomes. That can only be a good thing.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (4.37): I am very pleased to speak to Ms Orr’s motion on education today. In doing so, I will be pre-empting the amendments that have already been circulated. I will move them at the conclusion of my speech. The management of

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