Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3676 ..
and challenging behaviours. The transition to the NDIS was never likely to be a smooth, trouble-free pathway but, increasingly, as we move closer to the final transition from territory-funded base support to an NDIS plan arrangement, we are seeing an increase in anomalies. We are seeing more people and more organisations falling through the cracks and now we see that our students who need specific support are even falling through the cracks at school.
Only last week I had the mother of a child with autism come to see me because she was struggling to cope under the new NDIS arrangements. Her son is now leaving school but for most of his school life he suffered through a lack of empathy and support. If there had been more school counsellors or other appropriate support at his school I wonder if his experience might not have been so traumatic and his adult life and future prospects now not so compromised.
Yes, the transition to the NDIS means the ACT is no longer the main funding stream for students with a disability but that should not mean that it can abandon any moral responsibility for the vulnerable students in our schools. There is no excuse for allowing schools to continue to be so ill equipped or for teachers to be denied access to the training they need to best support the students in their care. As a caring society we need to do more than say the right words to express concern or, worse, try to shift the blame elsewhere.
In the case of this government’s failure to deliver identified and needed support for schools, for teachers and for families dealing with students with complex needs and challenging behaviours, there is no excuse. There is no excuse for inaction by this government. There is no excuse for the education minister to profess to care for teachers and clamour for our schools to be safe while allowing teachers and students to remain exposed and vulnerable because the government is failing to keep its promises.
I thank Mr Wall for bringing on this motion and highlighting the inexcusable lack of action by this government in such a critical part of our community, and I commend his motion to the Assembly.
MR WALL (Brindabella) (5.13): In every comment I have made on this issue I have highlighted the fact that it is my core belief that the teachers at the front line of delivering quality education in the ACT are doing the best they can with the resources they are provided. Likewise, I have also said on this issue that implementing these recommendations need not be simply a tick-box exercise but that proper diligence, preparation and implementation are needed to form part of their adoption. It is disappointing that the minister seems to have a tin ear when it comes to listening to the comments I have made in the media about this and instead comes down here and just reads a pre-prepared speech.
There was substantial diversion of resources found from efficiencies under Mr Rattenbury’s tenure as the minister for education to work on implementing and adopting these recommendations, which is a lot more than what particularly the Catholic systemic schools got when it came to implementing and adopting the recommendations within their school sectors. For those non-government schools that