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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2615 ..

committee discussed with Ms Nikolic the avenues that were available to Torrens residents to raise their concerns. The committee notes the current opportunity for residents of Torrens to detail their suggestions for improved community facilities and present them directly to Transport Canberra and City Services through the better suburbs consultation process.

The committee will not be inquiring further into the matters raised in this petition, but will continue to examine the allocation and distribution of funding for playgrounds through the annual reports process.

Senior Practitioner Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 7 June 2018, on motion by Ms Stephen-Smith:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (11.43): The genesis of this bill was a regrettable incident in 2015 at a Canberra primary school when a decision was made to construct an inappropriate withdrawal space for a student who was demonstrating behaviours dangerous to himself and others.

The subsequent review, chaired by Professor Anthony Shaddock, sought to address the many difficulties schools face in managing students with complex needs and challenging behaviours. It is now nearly three years since that report was tabled, and there has been some progress. This bill is one of those outcomes.

Professor Shaddock highlighted, among other issues, the lack of oversight and the need for proper frameworks and processes for such students. In particular, recommendation 11.3 in the report calls for the ACT government to:

… implement a whole-of-government approach, and develop a legislative framework, to regulate the use and independent oversight of restrictive practices in all ACT schools, and other relevant settings.

The bill also has a link with the national framework for reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices in the disability sector and the NDIS quality and safeguard framework. Both set time frames for establishing a senior practitioner position in the ACT.

However, the concern of the Canberra Liberals is that, while this bill addresses the requirement for the establishment of such a role, it does not of itself address the fundamental question of the best education setting for students with such complex needs. The legislation, I trust, is just one part of a jigsaw that must continue to be worked on.

I thank the minister, her staff and officials for providing briefings on the bill and coming back to my office with responses and with the amendments that I understand she is tabling today. That addresses many of the concerns we raised. I believe that it makes for a better piece of legislation.

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