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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 12..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

or whatever. It can also be just a record of a student's time at college. It is not a satisfactory outcome if a significant number of students have just a record of attendance and of what they have done but no Year 12 certificate.

We also looked at the number of students who drop out from the system. We were concerned that the Minister had acknowledged this mid-year decline or drop-out in enrolments in evidence to the Select Committee on Estimates and he had used this as a justification for cuts to secondary college staffing. In fact, there were 362 students in Year 12 college enrolments who disappeared from the system, which is a lot.

As members are probably aware, a further analysis of this was done in the media by Emma Macdonald. The department actually gave her more information than we got. We did not ask for it. I am not blaming the department for this. We did not follow it through at the time as much as we will in the next inquiry when we are looking at the way the education system supports students who are at risk of not completing their education. It was clear from Emma Macdonald's investigation that the department had done some analysis, and there were some quite disturbing reasons for students not completing their school and for dropping out. One of them was that they could not afford it because they did not have somewhere to live or because of the fees that are now imposed on students in public colleges. Another reason was that they could not keep up with the work.

All these things must be of great interest to the department, the Government and the Minister. The whole community realises that early school leaving is a continuing factor in social disadvantage in our society and that we certainly need to do everything we possibly can to keep students at school so that they end up with some reasonable qualification which will make a difference to their capacity to move on in society.

Generally it was useful for the committee to use the annual report process to look at what has happened, and I look forward to the Government's response.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Report on 1998-99 Annual and Financial Reports of the Department of

Urban Services

MR HIRD (11.22): Mr Speaker, pursuant to order, I present Report No. 38 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services, entitled "1998-99 Annual Report of the Department of Urban Services", together with a copy of extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, this report was authorised for publication by you on 16 December last year, pursuant to the resolution of the parliament of 2 September of the same year referring annual reports to the respective standing committees. On that note, I ask the house to bear with me in respect of the due processes that brought about this arrangement.

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