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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 3122..


are very profound words, Mr Barr. This particular issue is one I have pursued from one department to another and will continue to do so until a sensible resolution is found. It is, as my work experience student highlighted, the inequality of ancillary services that are offered to students at one special needs school as opposed to another.

Frankly, the attitude of both the current health minister and Chief Minister and the minister for education leaves much to be desired. If an 18-year-old brother of a special needs student can see and appreciate the unfair treatment and lack of transparency and opportunity on offer, why do two departments and their ministers not also see the anomaly?

In summary, Mr Speaker, we have in education and training a significant responsibility to get the policy settings right. The future of the territory's children is in our hands.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (11.22): I congratulate the government on another budget initiative in my electorate of Ginninderra. This initiative is an expenditure of $51/2 million over two years on Macgregor primary school. This area has a growing population of people whose first language is not English. Indeed, 69 students at Macgregor primary school have a language background other than English. Macgregor primary also has two integrated learning support centres. The $51/2 million will refurbish existing space and extend the school. This will increase from three classes in each year to four and will increase the school capacity by more than a third, from 400 to 588 students. I congratulate the government for this initiative.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.23): I want to also take the opportunity to pay tribute to some of our schools, both in the government sector and in the non-government sector. Unfortunately I think we in the opposition do not get to visit as many of the government schools as we would like sometimes. There are often barriers put up, but we do take the opportunities whenever we can. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Campbell high and chat with the students, the teachers and the principal there. And I was very impressed both with the students and the teachers, and indeed the principal, and seeing the school pride that was there.

I know that often many of our teachers and principals sometimes do feel under attack when there is bad publicity, but we in the opposition, we in the Canberra Liberals, believe that the vast, overwhelming majority of our teachers do an extraordinary job, whether they be in the government sector or the non-government sector. We know that our principals are very hard working and underpaid, I think, for the kind of responsibility that they have and that they take on in their school communities.

I have had the opportunity in recent times to visit Lanyon high and speak with the principal there and hear about their efforts to deal with things like truancy. Of course I think that they were undermined in those efforts by both the Labor Party and the Greens, and I think that it is important that we back our principals, that we actually giving backing to these principals, who really do have the best interests of their students at heart. They have legal responsibility but they also feel a very keen sense of responsibility to really do the right thing by their school community.


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