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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2557..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

I congratulate the department on being courageous enough to do the survey and to put together the information when I know as an organisation it was quite opposed to its introduction. I am glad that it did this. I congratulate it on its courage and I encourage it, the minister and all those involved in education. Just because the federal government suggests an educational innovation they should not necessarily say, in a knee-jerk reaction, "This is the wrong thing to do."

Eight in 10 parents who undertook the survey indicated that they were happy with A to E reporting. They valued hard evidence of their children's progress, which was enough for them to say this was a good measure. Some of those other measures that this minister and his bureaucrats are rejecting may be just as beneficial to parents and students.

Education—funding

Schools—bank balances

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (12.25 am): Tonight I would also like to talk about education. As is the wont of this government in the area of health, it has made much of its high spending on education as though the active spending of money was a great achievement. We heard the minister say on radio and every time that he is questioned about unspent funds and massive amounts being held in bank accounts, "That is the $350 million we have injected."He tries to dismiss out of hand the concerns being expressed by schools and parents.

Unfortunately, there are still many problems within the ACT school system. The ACT Auditor-General's report into vocational education and training found significant problems with vocational education in the ACT. The report found that the ACT is one of the highest cost jurisdictions in the cost per hour of training. Despite this high cost, the report also found that graduates, module completers and employers in the ACT had the lowest level of satisfaction with the quality of vocational courses of any jurisdiction in the country.

Despite this government's so-called commitment to school shortages we do not hear the minister talk much about this. It is not very appealing when we look at the analysis provided by the ACT Auditor-General. Canberra has the highest spending and the lowest results. It certainly is not the style of this government to talk about achievements and outcomes. Instead it just talks about how much money it is throwing around. This is a standard response when the government is asked about any aspect of the education system. Yesterday I heard the government say, "We are spending X dollars on this and we are spending Y dollars on that."

So eager is the ACT government to spend taxpayers' money that it is still throwing it over the border at New South Wales. Under the current arrangements ACT taxpayers still substantially subsidise students in New South Wales. We are told that the minister is in negotiations with the New South Wales government. We certainly hope that it can secure proper compensation in this area. However, it bewilders me that these things seem to take such an incredible amount of time to resolve.

As it has been pointed out on many occasions by my colleague Mrs Dunne, it is evident that there is a measure of hostility to the non-government school sector


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