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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1624..


MS BURCH: I will make a response. For the benefit of those over there, it is complicated—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS BURCH: As Minister for Racing and Gaming, I have an interest—

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Orders, members! I need to hear Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: For the Attorney-General, there is an interest and, indeed, the sports minister would also have an interest in this. At the most recent minco, which was racing ministers—and I do want to thank the minister for racing of New South Wales for hosting the event—we recognised this. With online betting, as you could imagine, those in the racing industry want to maintain a system of high integrity. Concerns were raised, they were discussed and we wrote to the federal senator who is responsible for communications.

Schools—reform

MS BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, at the recent COAG meeting, you expressed your support for the national schools reform but indicated that the ACT had not finalised negotiations with the commonwealth. Could you please advise the Assembly on details of the commonwealth offer to the ACT and what impact it will have on ACT public schools.

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for the question and her interest in funding for all ACT schools. As Ms Berry said, at the recent COAG meeting the ACT government did express support for national schools reform, but we were not ready to sign on the day. Since that meeting, the New South Wales government has been in a position to reach agreement with the commonwealth in relation to school funding.

Overwhelmingly, the ACT government supports the direction that the national school reform work heads into, which is around quality teaching, quality learning, empowering school leadership, meeting student needs regardless of what school they attend, and bringing transparency and accountability back into information on school performance, both for parents and for other education stakeholders. We very much, in the last election, went to all of the education meetings through the election campaign expressing our support for needs-based funding and made our election commitment decisions based on that—that we would target our extra funding going into education based on student need. That would be addressing educational disadvantage through different criteria such as disability, Indigenous status, language proficiency and also matters relating to school size and school location, although remote and regional schools are not an issue for the ACT.

The issues for the ACT are different from those of other jurisdictions. The financial aspects of the arrangements are the same for all states and territories—that is, that we


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