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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1849..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Under the act, I am required to review the first year of its operation, including specific issues relating to the protection of environmental, economic, social and cultural rights. A discussion paper for this review was released publicly on 6 April this year on the web sites of the Chief Minister's Department and of the Department of Justice and Community Safety. It was also distributed to a range of persons and organisations with an interest in human rights. The consultation period for the review closed on 19 May this year. In response to requests, that period was extended by one week to provide greater opportunity for participation.

Under the act, I am required to present a report of the review to the Assembly by 1 July 2006. However, as there are no sitting days at that time, I wish to advise members that I will be tabling the report on 15 August, which is the next available sitting date.

Education Amendment Bill 2005

[Cognate bill:

Education Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2)]

Debate resumed.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.31): We have in front of us today two education bills. My preference is to support Mrs Dunne's bill, but I am aware that, the way the numbers are, her bill will be overridden by the government's bill. I am assuming that is what will happen, unless of course the earth moves, in which case I will, with less enthusiasm, support Mr Barr's bill. Let me outline the reasons for this approach.

There is no doubt that, in our society, school is essential to the lives of our children. It is one of those coming-of-age experiences for children where they move from the family into the broader community, where children make friends and learn to socialise and, if they are lucky, make friends who live in the same suburb or nearby so that they can easily play together after school and on weekends.

This is perhaps becoming an old-fashioned view, which is a pity, because that is how Canberra was designed. Canberra was designed with neighbourhood centres and a primary school in each suburb. There was a whole science of planning behind it. We could be critical of that science. I was, in fact, quite critical of it in my master's thesis because it is a machine model. Nonetheless, it was based on some very sound principles. One of those principles was community development. Schools are not only where children meet but also where the families of those children meet. In the new suburbs of Canberra, where people moved here from other parts of Australia, as well as from other parts of Canberra, there was a degree of isolation, ironic though that is when you have so many houses side by side.

I know that when I moved to Yarralumla, where I did not know a soul in 1990, it was through my daughter going to preschool and then primary school that I became part of that community, joined the P&C, became part of the after-school committee and so on. That, I would say, has led to my being here today, basically-through a long, long road. This is the importance of schools. It is the importance of schools being within a community. Any decision that we make that changes that model is a very grave decision that must be very deeply thought through.

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