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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1972..

1 January to 31 March 2012. In addition, 117 single dwelling house leases and 87 additional land rent leases were granted by direct sale for the quarter.


Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Coe be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The future of education in the ACT.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (3.35): I am very pleased to raise this matter of public importance today. It provides another opportunity to debate one of the territory's important governance responsibilities—that is, education. The Canberra Liberals believe in the ability to choose the education you want for your child, whether it is in the government sector, the non-government sector, at a faith-based school or any other school. Funding should not discriminate.

The Canberra Liberals believe in fairness and equality for all schools and all families. This is a fundamental difference from those on the other side of the chamber. We all know that those on the other side of the chamber are very conflicted when it comes to non-government schools. In spite of the fact that more than 40 per cent of ACT students go to a non-government school, this government continues their vendetta against the non-government sector. We know very clearly through the Labor Party conference resolution—supported by the Chief Minister and, no doubt, supported by multiple other members on that side of the chamber—that the growth of private education has facilitated the fragmentation of Australia's children along ethnic, cultural and particularly religious lines.

What they are saying is that the non-government schools in the ACT are fragmenting our culture; they are fragmenting our society. They are saying all the families that choose to send their kids to a non-government school have contributed to the fragmentation of Australia. That is a very big difference from our view on this side of the chamber. Yesterday, my colleague Mr Doszpot brought to this place a motion in support of Catholic Schools Week and the contribution those schools and, indeed all non-government schools make to the territory. I want to completely endorse the motion put forward by Mr Doszpot and the words that he and my other Liberal colleagues spoke in that debate.

There are a number of elements that must be raised relating to the future of education in the ACT. Not least of these is the issue of equality of funding. In February 2012 there were over 60,000 students in the ACT. Of those, 27,000 attended a non-government school. This number has been trending upwards over a number of years. Yet the territory does not recognise this and does not fund according to the enrolments.

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