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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3631..


MR STANHOPE: Richard is after the leadership, too, but he will have to compete with Gary Humphries now. We will have the Prime Minister's opposition bench Christmas present of a final interest rate rise for the year, and Gary Humphries's Christmas present from the wilderness, as he plots to be parachuted in before the next election. I would think, in the context of the member who would be asked to vacate, that the least performing and most embarrassing member is the member for Molonglo, Mrs Burke. I imagine Mrs Burke would be getting a tap on the shoulder between now and Christmas and told to vacate, to allow Gary Humphries to have the opportunity to be parachuted back in.

Education

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for education. Can the minister please update the Assembly on what the government is doing to ensure that our ACT students are receiving a quality education?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest in the matter. I do note that it does stand in marked contrast to the position of those opposite who believe that investment in public education is throwing good money after bad. The Stanhope government has increased investment in public education and education in the ACT by 30 per cent since we came to office in 2001. Education and training now account for nearly a quarter of the ACT budget. As a result of the government's clear and dedicated commitment to investing in public education, we have appropriated $350 million towards upgrading school facilities and building new schools in areas where there is high demand for schools, particularly in the growth areas of Gungahlin. We also seek to renew public education infrastructure in west Belconnen and Tuggeranong by replacing ageing buildings with state-of-the-art public education facilities.

We have invested in quality information technology to ensure that every ACT school is connected to an expansive broadband network. We are providing $20 million over four years towards information technology investment in our schools. There are quality education programs occurring in relation to art, languages and physical education—all boosted in the second appropriation.

We have provided pay rises to ACT teachers to take them to the top of the table around the country. It is interesting to note today that teachers in Victoria are striking because they believe that they have fallen too far behind their ACT counterparts. They are taking a case to the Victorian government that they need to catch up with the ACT. We offer record levels of investment in public education and top quality salaries for our teachers. We are investing in quality teaching and learning.

Through 2007 we have trialled the new curriculum framework across 22 schools in the ACT, government and non-government. I look forward very much next week to formally launching the framework for its full implementation in 2008. We are reforming our education system and working in collaboration with government schools, Catholic schools and independent schools to institute a new framework for the ACT—something that is relevant for the 21st century and backed by record levels of investment.


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