Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3674 ..
these reports, and that reporting is set to continue. I think that is very positive so that the community can have clarity as to what is going on.
In answer to the main thrust of Mr Wall’s motion regarding urgent implementation and immediate action being taken on the recommendations, it has become clear in today’s debate that the independent expert oversight group advised the government in November 2016 to progress implementation of recommendations over a longer period of time than initially contemplated, to ensure that the work was rigorous, was of a high standard and did create enduring change. For me, that is the most important thing. The fact that the independent oversight group recommended that should give us all pause for reflection. We have heard a great deal of detail in the minister’s response today, so I will not expand on that further. I continue to support her ongoing commitment to improving an education system for all students.
This is a very complex area. I encourage the directorate and our school communities to continue to undertake these fundamental changes to both policy and day-to-day teaching practice in a dedicated and methodical way. This is a challenging area of education policy. The changes required are complex. But we also cannot let that be any excuse for not implementing them. We must be diligent in moving forward.
I am pleased to see that progress is being made. I welcome the transparency that is continuing with these reports. I know that all three sectors, in the time I was minister and having detailed conversations with them, were very committed to delivering on this, and I trust that that commitment is continuing.
MS LEE (Kurrajong) (5.05): Whilst we would rather, of course, not have had to bring this matter to this chamber, I take the opportunity to speak in support of Mr Wall’s motion on the lack of progress by the ACT government in delivering the recommendations outlined in a report arising out of an inquiry chaired by Professor Shaddock. I was not a member of this Assembly when the incident that was the catalyst for the inquiry occurred. However, there are few people in Canberra who were not shocked at what became known as the boy in the cage incident and that this was happening right here in Canberra. The incident attracted national and international media attention and was the topic of much discussion amongst education professionals, psychologists and parents.
My colleague and fellow member for Kurrajong Mr Doszpot, as shadow education minister in the last term, kept considerable pressure on the then education minister to ensure that the matter was not swept under the carpet and, as difficult as it might have been for all involved, to ensure that such incidents were highlighted and brought to light for public scrutiny so that an incident like this would never happen again.
I commend the government for engaging Professor Shaddock to head the inquiry. Professor Shaddock was eminently qualified and an appropriate choice, having both familiarity with the ACT through an earlier report on disability services and experience in this particular area of education delivery.
It was an unfortunate, dark period in ACT education but it also provided an opportunity for the government to understand the pressures existing in our classrooms