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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (17 September) . . Page.. 4138..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

some members of the MBA, however, who are not compliant, and it is the position of the MBA that the compliant members are carrying the financial burden of those noncompliant members. They are supportive of this legislation going forward. Of course, I also recognise the support we received from the CFMEU and a raft of other unions which have at-risk occupations, such as the ANF and the SDA, notably Mr Athol Williams, who I know has been voluble in his support for the bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Education Amendment Bill 2009

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (10.21): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am introducing the Education Amendment Bill 2009, and I will discuss, firstly, the amendments and the current legislative framework, the role and purpose of suspensions within our schools and, finally, the programs and policies which support students and their families. This amendment to the Education Act fulfils Labor's election commitment to better support principals, teachers and schools by developing options for tougher suspensions.

Principals know their schools and they know their students. That is why the proposed amendment gives the Chief Executive of the Department of Education and Training and the Director of the Catholic Education Office the power to delegate their existing authority to school principals to suspend students for up to 10 days. This delegated power currently exists in the legislation but is limited to five days. It is important to give school principals the flexibility to manage issues as they arise in their schools.

School executive directors in both the department of education and the Catholic Education Office also know their schools. They know the students and the teachers in these schools. This is why this amendment also devolves power to these senior executive officers responsible for schools in the ACT. Specifically, this amendment gives the chief executive and the Catholic education director the option to delegate their authority to transfer students to another school to the senior executive officers of the department and the Catholic Education Office.

We invited the Catholic systemic schools to join us in these reforms. Their inclusion in these amendments will contribute to consistent practices between the two school systems. These amendments do not apply to the independent schools sector. Principals at independent schools in the ACT already have the authority to suspend students for


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