Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession, Mr Hall, and it is in relation to the Portland Bay School. During the six-plus years that I have had the privilege of representing Western Victoria Region it has always struck me how the Portland community has cared for people in the local community who have additional needs. It does not matter to whom you speak in the local community, the special school is often raised, with people giving examples of how critical it is for special needs community members to be able to interact in their local community.
It is because of this ongoing interest in the school that many community members have contacted my office concerned about recent events at the school. In fact I met with some parents in Portland last week. The minister is aware of a number of recent issues at the school.
Some students are currently not attending the school, there have been complaints from parents, complaints about bullying from current employees, disquiet from former employees and reports in the local media. In addition I understand the police have been called to the school on more than one occasion. I also understand that a review has been conducted and a new examination is under way.
I raise this adjournment matter tonight not to delve into the specific issues but as a member of Parliament who is extremely concerned about the current situation and the impact it is having on the general welfare of students and parents. We all know that examinations, reviews and legal proceedings take some time, and I accept that proper process takes time. But I am worried that some of the children are not coping. Some cannot or will not go to school, and there are many children who seem to have regressed. We all know regression and increased disengagement experienced by students with additional needs is multilayered and difficult to address, and it takes longer for those students to get back onto an even keel.
Parents are missing work to look after their children, and it is abundantly clear that many parents are stressed, at the end of their tether and understandably very emotional. I am seeking that the minister as a matter of urgency take action to ensure that support services, including counselling, are put in place for students and parents now, rather than sitting back and waiting for all other processes to be concluded. The situation is dire, and intervention is required now to ensure that these families receive the urgent help that is needed in that community.
The PRESIDENT — Order! Can I clarify which minister this matter is raised with?