Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Allied Health Professionals in Schools

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:14): I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the parliamentary secretary in her role as the Assistant Minister for Autism regarding allied health professionals in schools.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In 2014, the then Australian Coalition government introduced the Allied Health Project, which promotes collaboration between allied health professionals (in this instance, speech pathologists and occupational therapists) and school personnel (teachers and support staff) to plan and implement teaching and learning strategies aimed at improving the educational experience and outcomes for students with disability. It allows for scheduled site visits, which relieve the disruption of removing a student from the classroom to attend offsite appointments.

The Liberal opposition in South Australia has been alerted by a speech pathologist who provides these services that allied health professionals will be banned from providing services in schools next year at the discretion of the principal. My questions to the parliamentary secretary are:

1. Is the parliamentary secretary concerned that some allied health professionals are not being allowed into public schools to provide treatment for students requiring this support?

2. Is it appropriate for principals to prevent allied health professionals entering the schools, given that this project is well established?

3. Will the parliamentary secretary rule out a blanket ban on allied health professionals in public schools?

4. What support is the government providing to schools to allow allied health services to continue?

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (15:15): Thank you for the question. As I am not the Minister for Education, I am happy to take that on notice.