Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 August 2017) . . Page.. 2830 ..
The government will invest $400,000 over the next four years to actively support ACT schools in delivering the program. This is in conjunction with an investment of $2.4 million over four years for the hiring of five new school psychologists to protect students’ mental health and wellbeing in school, ready for the start of 2018. Just as every student in ACT schools has the right to feel safe at school, so do teachers that work with them. In the budget we will invest $1 million to provide safer workplaces for teachers, educators and support staff, to address occupational violence.
I have devoted my working life to making sure all children have access to a quality education and I know that it is hard to talk about education anyway without actually addressing the fundamental school funding questions. We had a comprehensive review of the system in the past by Mr David Gonski, an agreement by states and territories to a needs-based funding system that provided loading based on disadvantage. I was there at pretty much every ministerial council meeting during the process.
This motion acknowledges support for the reform architecture but also the funding, because we believe it is fundamental that each child should have the support they need to succeed. While it is with a level of frustration that the school funding question has been reopened by the federal government, with less federal money on the table and cuts to many schools, we in the ACT must continue to drive these reforms forward. That means continuing to have a discussion about how we can improve student outcomes in our schools and support our most vulnerable children.
I am pleased that the budget invests $546,000 to deliver the future of education community consultation on schooling and early childhood education and care, which will help the ACT to build a better school system for the future. I certainly encourage all members of the community, all school communities, all early childhood services and their communities to get involved. Fundamentally the ACT government is investing in the budget to deliver our positive plan to renew schools, hospitals, transport, infrastructure and our neighbourhoods. This budget will deliver further investments to ensure that our schools have better classroom facilities and support for teaching. I am proud to be part of a government which recognises the importance of investing in education for our future prosperity and I commend Ms Orr’s motion to the Assembly.
MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (5.13): It is with great pleasure today that I rise to speak in favour of my colleague Ms Orr’s motion. Education is a fundamental component in creating a more equal society. It is not the only component but it is an incredibly important component. The motion notes many of the different facets of our education system here in Canberra. It notes the importance that education plays in preparing people for employment. It notes the contribution our teachers and school leaders make to our broader communities. And it also notes the importance of ensuring that all schools are safe, supportive and inclusive. That is a timely reminder, given the debate we will see occurring over marriage equality in the coming weeks.