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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1273..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

functions to the Government School Education Council. The non-government school education council will comprise members drawn from the non-government school sector and the broader community, with an independent chairperson. Suspension and exclusion provisions similar to those applying to government schools have also been introduced for non-government schools.

Chapter 5 addresses home education and has been modified in response to submissions on the exposure draft. Principles have been added to the chapter that recognise parents' right to choose an appropriate education environment for their children and the commitment of home educators in providing a broad range of opportunities to foster each child's development. Inappropriate inspection provisions have been removed but the bill retains powers to monitor home education consistent with the obligation of government and parents to ensure all children receive a high quality education.

Chapter 6 contains provisions in support of the principal part of the bill. Mr Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the Assembly to three provisions in this part of the bill. First, this legislation details the decisions that may be reviewed either internally or externally by reference to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. These include suspension and exclusion decisions in government schools, as well as the decisions relating to the registration of non-government schools and home education.

Chapter 7 contains the provisions for the transfer of the assets and liabilities of the Schools Authority to the territory. It also includes the necessary safeguards and continuity for institutions that were created under legislation that will be repealed by this bill.

Chapter 8 contains the provisions for the repeal of the legislation that the bill will replace. It also enables the recognition of specialist education providers. This innovation gives legal recognition to satisfactory providers who offer courses that contribute to school education including at years 11 and 12. In the latter case it will enable the Board of Senior Secondary Studies to assess and accredit courses that may be suitable for year 12 certification.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.34 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Bushfires-coroner's inquest

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Attorney-General. Last week the coroner's inquest into the 2003 bushfires was adjourned until Monday week to allow senior bushfire and emergency services managers to seek legal representation. In adjourning the inquiry, Coroner Doogan was highly critical of your government's decision to have one counsel representing the government, its agencies and its employees, despite her having warned of the obvious problems of conflict of interest at the directions hearing in June last year. She said:


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