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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 468..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

120 people, who are currently on a waiting list, to be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of riding a horse. Recently the Lions Youth Haven provided a three-year lease for one of their houses to St Vincent de Paul. This will provide facilities for young families in their time of need, while also providing the resources to keep the Lions Youth Haven operating.

Partnerships are what the Lions Youth Haven are searching for so that they can continue to provide those services in the community. And they have found them with the ACT government, the federal government, Greening Australia, Pegasus Riding School and St Vincent de Paul but, in order to keep growing as an organisation, they require more partnerships. The Lions Youth Haven is a community organisation that we should not allow to remain at a constant level but we should encourage them to grow and to be able to assist more people.

Water is one of our most precious resources and one that we must manage effectively. Lions Youth Haven have received a much-needed investment from a partnership with the federal government so that they can continue their growth and continue to provide support to those that need it most.

These organisations, and others like it, provide support. To keep providing these services, these organisations themselves require support. So I ask all members here today to do what they can to highlight the tremendous work that the Lions Youth Haven do to benefit our society.

Schools—non-government

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.22): I would like to use my time in today's adjournment debate to discuss the important role independent and non-government schools play in the ACT community. I was fortunate recently to meet with the Independent Schools Association and to be able to reaffirm my commitment to that organisation and to the non-government education sector in the ACT. This support and commitment does not come at the expense of or in preference to the public education system. I firmly believe that all Canberra parents have a right to send their children to the school of their choice, government or not, and would expect a quality standard of service and education be provided.

It is clear, based on complaints that I receive from time to time from constituents, that there are some problems with the government sector in Canberra. I acknowledge, however, that, as a whole, Canberra is blessed with a quality education system relative to other places. Addressing the issues that do exist must be a priority of the ACT government.

Parents should not be forced to put their children into the non-government sector because they are not satisfied with the standard of government schools and, in particular, issues of discipline. They should, however, be free to choose to do so. I, like many of my constituents, have had children in both systems. I have two of my children here today who are presently in non-government schools, Catholic schools.

Parents who send their children to non-government schools make a choice to invest in their children's education. And although not everyone is in a position to make this


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