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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 344..


MR BARR (continuing):

The ACT government recognises the benefits of providing education and training to overseas students. It strengthens our relations with the countries and regions from which students come and yields valuable revenue. The internationalisation of education enriches the life of educational institutions and benefits domestic students by promoting the cross-fertilisation of ideas and cultures. Competition in the international marketplace is a stimulus to quality and innovation, which is in the interests of all students. I believe these amendments streamline several important areas of vocational and higher education governance in the territory and at the same time clarify the responsibilities of the chief executive and council. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Holidays (Canberra Day) Amendment Bill 2007

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.41): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Holidays (Canberra Day) Amendment Bill 2007 will amend the Holidays Act 1958 to change the day the Canberra Day public holiday is observed from the third Monday in March to the second Monday in March, which is closer to Canberra's actual birthday, 12 March. It appears that Canberra Day was first celebrated in 1963 with a one-off holiday celebrating the 50th birthday of the city on 12 March. Between 1963 and 1980 it seems that the day was celebrated in an ad hoc manner, with the federal minister declaring a public holiday year by year, and the date changing to fit with other events. Because planning is well advanced for this year it is proposed that in 2007 the Canberra Day public holiday be celebrated on the third Monday in March with the change to the second Monday in March each year becoming effective from 2008.

Submissions were invited from the community about their views on the two options for celebrating Canberra Day, which were either to observe the public holiday on 12 March or, if 12 March is a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday, or observe the public holiday on the second Monday in March. The consultation resulted in a mixed outcome within employer groups and within unions with no clear preference expressed for celebrating Canberra Day on 12 March or on the second Monday in March. However, the community indicated a clear preference to maintain a long weekend; that is, the second Monday in March.

Celebrating the Canberra Day public holiday on the second Monday in March from 2008 is a sensible option that fits with community preferences, including concerns that the Canberra Day holiday be celebrated closer to Canberra's actual birthday. The


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