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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 5530..

This research and the work done by Professor Shaddock and the committee clearly indicate where there are areas we can improve in the ACT. That is what we will be doing. I look forward to delivering the government's response to the committee report in due course.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that the Grattan report ranks Australia eighth in the world on student assessment in reading, maths and science, how will the recent heavy emphasis on NAPLAN testing across Australia and in the ACT improve our ranking in these areas?

MR BARR: I think the NAPLAN testing provides important data for classroom teachers. Used in conjunction with the smart tool that the ACT education department equips all schools and all teachers with, we can then measure the progress of individual students as they move through their years of schooling. The level of data that is available now means that we can identify students who are not meeting minimum national benchmarks who might need additional assistance. Equally, we can also look at those students who are achieving well above what their peers are achieving and, in fact, may benefit from gifted and talented educational programs.

The level of data that is available now through national testing and available for classroom teachers is significantly above what has been available in the education sector before and I think it provides a powerful tool for continuous improvement within our schooling system. We look forward in the next few weeks to the release of a whole range of new information on the revamped My School website. Most particularly also, what will be interesting to see are the financial data comparisons and how schools across the territory and the country are effectively utilising the resources available to them.

Planning—variation 2101-31

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, section 87 of the Planning and Development Act describes a technical variation and includes point (g) which notes:

... a variation to clarify the language in the Territory Plan if it does not change the substance of the plan

Minister, when considering variation 2010-31, is a 50 per cent increase in density and the deletion of sports fields a clarification of the language or a change to the substance of the plan?

MR BARR: Technical amendments, as Mr Smyth has identified in his question, are an element of the Planning and Development Act. It does go on to describe the circumstances where technical amendments can be used. One type of technical

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