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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 October 2018) . . Page.. 4092 ..

MS BERRY: I can confirm that I launched the policy in July 2017 and, as I said, it was in my first meeting with the Australian Education Union, which should be in the calendar somewhere. I will look in my office if it has not been published. I will be able to give you the exact date. But I can assure you that I work very closely with the Education Union to ensure that the occupational violence policy and plan that have being implemented—

Opposition members interjecting

MS BERRY: You know, it is—

Mr Gentleman: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, the opposition continue to interject during the answer from the minister, even though you have given them—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Gentleman: And they continue to interject while we are doing this point of order. I ask you to bring them to—

MADAM SPEAKER: I think I have indicated that the minister clearly is not going to answer the question when you interject. You have continued to interject. Please cease and allow the minister to answer.

MS BERRY: I was appointed as education minister in 2016, so it would have been around October 2016 that I met with the Education Union. That policy is being implemented. We will work with the schools and the teachers to make sure that they are safe in our schools. It is important to understand the seriousness of this issue. Of course it is very serious. We want to make sure that our teachers are safe in our schools, so we will continue to work on this difficult and sometimes quite complex issue. We continue to lead the country in this work. It should not be underestimated how difficult it is, but we want to make sure that we support school staff so that they can do the job they are passionate about.

Education—staff welfare

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, why has the number of teachers and principals taking leave due to violence, harassment and bullying tripled over the past five years?

MS BERRY: It is an unacceptable circumstance that our school staff should be having to take leave because they have been treated in a way that is unacceptable. I think that the first thing for us as leaders in this town is to show the value and respect that we have for the teaching profession. In the same way we would appreciate and value the medical profession or a doctor with a diagnosis, we should absolutely respect the work of the teaching profession and not ignore this issue but make sure that we do everything we can to make sure our teachers are safe at school. But, alongside that, we need to make sure that our schools are inclusive so that everybody gets the chance to have a good education, that people are equally valued in our

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