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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 943..

MR BARR (continuing):

The council's report was released last week, on 24 April. The future of schooling in Australia sets out a comprehensive vision for how we will work together across the country to help students and parents. The future of schooling in Australia emphasises the importance of collaboration across the states and territories to achieve national consistency. It also emphasises the importance of focusing on fundamental disciplines. This focus on traditional disciplines will ensure a comprehensive, well-rounded education for all Australian students.

The report has an action plan to tackle the important education issues that face all states and territories, and the plan commits the states and territories to work towards a national curriculum. We have, as I have indicated before in this place, rejected the Howard government's heavy-handed approach to creating a national curriculum. But we will work together to set core content and achievement standards. The states and territories have also committed to measuring student performance in a meaningful way across the country. We will work together to ensure that high-quality national tests are developed.

States and territories have committed to reporting on performance in a clear and effective way. This commitment extends to reporting on performance at the individual, school and system level. We are also committed to developing a culture of high performance and continuous improvement in Australian schools. We recognise that school leaders have a major influence in this regard. We are going to undertake a review of school leadership programs across Australia, and look at overseas experience, to develop guidelines to promote best practice.

We have also committed to promoting a national framework for professional standards of teaching. States and territories have also committed to reducing red tape and have called on the Howard government to do the same. We are planning to convene a national forum to showcase best practice across Australian states and territories, which will cover government, Catholic and independent schools.

Mr Speaker, I am sorry to report that those opposite have had nothing to say on any of these major issues. Five months have passed since the last time the opposition asked a question on education in this place. The shadow minister said she will not waste her time. Well, there we go-she is not interested in hearing about the future of education in this territory and this country. Time after time major issues have come forward. This has been a major national debate on national testing, on national curriculum, on a common year 12 certificate, on performance based pay for teachers, on greater autonomy for principals, on workforce planning within the teaching profession. We have heard nothing-not a single thing-from the opposition.

The government has come forward with a series of policies. We are leading national debate on national testing. We have taken a leadership role in the development of a national curriculum. This jurisdiction is the first to have a government and non-government system working together for a new curriculum framework. We are leading the nation in education provision, and it is something that this government is very proud of.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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