Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 167..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
Liberal Party and the Secretariat on issuing a modified determination that would enable it to occur.
Again, that is taking some time and this is an issue that I believe truly needs to be resolved, and long term, to remove any doubt of the intent of the LA(MS) Act and the intent of this place. Long term, the best way to do this is to resolve this in the legislation to make it quite clear that we in this Assembly endorse the practice of the pooling and that it is quite legal to do so under the act. With that in mind, I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned to the next sitting.
Education Amendment Bill 2008
Ms Hunter, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.
Title read by Clerk.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.06): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
This bill amends the Education Act 2004 to ensure that any decisions to amalgamate, close or consider closing a government school are made in a rigorous, thoughtful and transparent manner. The Greens are committed to reviewing the impact on children, families and communities of the Towards 2020 school closures. We are also determined to ensure that such a false and ill-considered process can never happen again.
This bill amends those sections of the current Education Act that govern the amalgamation and closure of government schools. In drafting it, we have tried to respond constructively to the anger and frustration continually expressed to us by parents, students, teachers and other members of the school communities whose schools were threatened with closure through the shocking and ill-considered Towards 2020 school closing plan.
Through MLA Deb Foskey's office and later through this year's election campaign, the Greens were made well aware of the inconsistencies in the ACT government's process, the lack of detailed information that the government could provide to justify its approach and its eventual decisions and the thin rationale that it could provide on the ongoing costs to families of these decisions and their unhappiness.
As the process unfolded through 2006, the ground continually shifted from benchmarking to cost saving to educational outcomes. None of these rationales ever stood up across the board. Rather, they appeared to be a fairly random collection of reasons, some of which were more or less defensible, on some occasions perhaps.
This is, of course, one reason why the ongoing secrecy of the document that drove or was perhaps the excuse for this plan has been so aggravating and why, in a few