House of Assembly: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Statutes Amendment (Education, Training and Skills Portfolio) Bill

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 21 March 2023.)

The Hon. B.I. BOYER (Wright—Minister for Education, Training and Skills) (12:22): I think where I got up to in my remarks, before seeking leave to continue on Tuesday, was to thank those people who had made a contribution to the debate: the members for Morialta, King, Elder, Adelaide, Gibson and Waite, who all made excellent contributions, I thought, particularly some excellent observations around the importance of taking action around truancy and absenteeism.

That, as I think I commented on and which was echoed by those speakers, is always a priority but particularly one now as we enter the post-pandemic phase. I think the disengagement of young people escalated in—it was sped up by the nature of—the pandemic, and many kids who I think might have been at risk of becoming disengaged were hurried into that process. So the more we do now the better in terms of tracking the absenteeism and chronic truancy of students across our system, and then using that data to work out what kind of support we need to give them specifically and, of course, their families as well.

We know that issues around absenteeism and truancy are often a symptom of other things that are happening in their lives and at home with their families. Those might be issues around mental health or dysfunction, sometimes domestic and family violence that is occurring in the house. We need to make sure that the response we have is fit for purpose for different students, taking into account that they are not all going to have the same causes in terms of why they are not coming to school regularly.

So I am pleased the changes that are proposed in this bill will in no small way go to tackle that. I do not think there is much more than I need to mention here, other than that I appreciate the—

The Hon. J.A.W. Gardner: What's the name of the ESB?

The Hon. B.I. BOYER: Yes, the member for Morialta did challenge me to speak about the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Board.

The Hon. J.A.W. Gardner: Hear, hear!

The Hon. B.I. BOYER: The only reason I can say that is because the member for Morialta is correct, it is an infamous acronym. We used to call it the EECSRS board. It had another name which had a swearword in the title, only because of the fact that it was so difficult to remember. It was in no way a reflection of the functions or the professionalism of the board—it is a doozy—but, of course, now it is the Education Standards Board.

I want to thank the member for Morialta for his support on this—it is greatly appreciated—and all the speakers on this side who spoke I thought very honestly about why these kinds of things are important. Although this is a portfolio bill and these amendments could be characterised as minor, which for the large part they are, they are nonetheless important and will make a difference out there in our schools and our learning institutions. With that, I will end my remarks.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

The Hon. B.I. BOYER (Wright—Minister for Education, Training and Skills) (12:26): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.