Page 1004 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 May 2020

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Another said:

I am not sure what the reason for the hub sites is. That concept makes no sense to me. I just mean that schools are remaining open supposedly to help us, but it has actually just become a whole lot more difficult because of the hub sites concept.

The association of P&C councils provided this very frank and fearless feedback to the minister:

Hubs aren’t working for families or the kids. A lot of parents withdrew because not happy with how they were working. They lacked the usual support network of schools for students and parents.

They went on to say:

Parents feel that the last six weeks haven’t really been about the kids. The focus has been on logistics and making practicalities work. Parents now want to see kids and learning at the centre. Families have made a lot of concessions and taken on a lot of inconvenience and difficulty to make it work so far but are not so willing to continue this indefinitely.

Madam Speaker, when you have a government that supposedly has the best interests of Canberra’s families at heart, that supposedly is concerned about issues of equity in the education system and has bumbled its way through to announce a plan that was doomed to fail from the beginning, particularly in addressing the issues of equity and access, you know that its interests are not with our children’s wellbeing—social, emotional or educational.

In terms of the minister’s proposed amendment, whilst we do not agree with everything, we do acknowledge and thank every single person who has worked in our education system and who this government has let down—our teachers, staff in the Education Directorate, cleaners and building services workers, bus drivers, community services organisations looking after the before and after school care at short notice, the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens, non-government schools, and even emergency services. In particular, our students have been let down by this government.

There is no doubt that in moving forward, as we need to, to get back to normality, our focus will be on ensuring that this timetable that the minister has set is rolled out, keeping in mind all of the vulnerabilities and distresses that our families, teachers and students have faced. We will not be opposing the amendment for that reason, because it has at least provided some certainty to parents. It is a step in the right direction. However, we acknowledge the ongoing distress of thousands of families who are still being locked out of access to face-to-face teaching for up to almost a month.

We will also be keeping an eye on the support that this government provides to teachers to ensure that their safety and protection are looked after. It is their workplace and they have the right to that, just like any other employee in essential services. We also need to make absolutely sure that no child is left behind after the

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