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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (14 March) . . Page.. 534..

MR BARR (continuing):

the inequity in our education system. Certainly, through a series of commonwealth government policies, we are seeing a massive redirection of resources away from lower socioeconomic areas into private schools, and particularly a range of private schools that do not really need those extra resources.

If we are fair dinkum about addressing social disadvantage, then the education system is the way to address that. This government is investing record amounts in public education. We have the runs on the board and over the next three years we will continue a reform process that will see more money injected into our public education system. It will see better outcomes for students and it will see ACT students continuing to lead the nation in the areas where we lead the nation. We will seek to address those areas where we are not performing as well, and that is what this reform process is about.

I encourage those opposite and Dr Foskey to get on board with this. It is important for the future of our society.

DR FOSKEY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. In that case, aren't ACT school students missing out on university scores because they are not scaled against an equivalent part of New South Wales such as the North Shore or Baulkham Hills, but are scaled against the whole of New South Wales, which has a much lower level of education and affluence?

MR BARR: This issue has been agitated by a certain individual in our community. He has sought to raise this issue and the government—

DR FOSKEY: And don't be personal.

MR BARR: I am not being personal; I am just saying this issue has been, and is consistently, raised by an individual. It has been examined several times during Ms Gallagher's term as education minister and at least once—if not twice—whilst I have been minister. A series of reviews has been undertaken. There has been quite a detailed examination of the issue.

Through the course of these reviews Dr Foskey has raised a particular issue: which area of Sydney might be best to compare with the ACT. That has been a vexed issue. There are still differences between the ACT socioeconomic profile and the examples that you have raised, Dr Foskey. I do not think that it is as easy as simply answering that we should compare our results with those of the north shore of Sydney. That is not the answer to the particular issues and concerns raised.

We have had a look at it. We have made some changes. Those changes were advised by the BSSS at the release of year 12 results at the end of last year. This issue has been addressed on a number of occasions. I do not believe that there is any further need at this time to undertake a further examination of that issue.

Emergency Services Agency—equipment

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for emergency services.

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