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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 286..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

impact assessment process has to be gone through to install power to the top of Mount Tennant, because it involves a significant level of trenching to bring power to the top of the mountain. That work is ongoing.

In relation to Mount Clear, investigations are continuing as to the location of not just a repeater but also a fire tower at the top of Mount Clear. That work is also ongoing and is subject to further government consideration.

With those provisos, I can assure Mrs Dunne and other members that the TRN system is providing a very high level of coverage across the remaining areas of the ACT. VHF continues to be used as the primary channel for the RFS, but TRN is now being used by the fire brigade, the SES and the ambulance service. I am hopeful that we will be in a position to make a decision soon on moving to TRN as the primary channel for the RFS as well.

Education

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the minister for education. Can the minister inform the Assembly how the ACT education system is performing compared with other states and territories and other countries?

MR BARR: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. I am very pleased to report to the Assembly that the ACT system performs very well when compared with other states and territories, as well as other countries. This performance is measured by a number of key indicators.

Members may be aware that last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released their Schools, Australia, 2006 publication. Key statistics include the number of schools, enrolments, participation rates, retention rates and the numbers of teaching staff. This publication shows that the ACT has the highest apparent retention rates from year 10 to year 12. We retain 88.9 per cent of students compared with 76.1 per cent nationally.

Across the government sector we actually gain students compared with the rest of the nation, with an apparent retention rate of 101.1 per cent compared with 70.8 per cent nationally. This seemingly curious outcome occurs because students from the non-government sector and New South Wales move into our public schools during the year.

These figures are in stark contrast to the statement made by Mrs Dunne on 24 February. In that statement she said that Canberrans would be surprised to learn that up to 30 per cent of students who commence year 11 in the ACT do not complete year 12. They might be surprised, but it is not true.

I can inform the Assembly that, of the 4,887 students to commenced year 11 in the ACT in 2005, 4,229, or 86.5 per cent, were still enrolled in year 12 at the August 2006 census, a loss of 13.5 per cent. In fact, going back to 1988, the largest exit rate was 16 per cent in 2004.


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