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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 422..


MS LAWDER: Minister, why is additional testing only for new teacher recruits, who make up less than 10 per cent of the teacher workforce, if you are serious about raising professional standards?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Lawder for her question. It is about getting the new teachers that are coming into our system. With respect to the current professional standards and the registration process for ACT schools, they put our current teachers in good stead, and they are certainly supported through the TQI in their professional development. But this is a significant change. We are the only state or territory, as I understand it, that is applying this test. And I will not be shy about saying why I am doing that. It is to make sure that we can make the statement to Canberra families that are coming into the public education system here in Canberra that we will accept the best and the brightest. If that means testing so that they sit in the top 30 per cent then that is what we will do.

Economy—stimulus

MS PORTER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you advise the Assembly of the reasons for the economic stimulus package that you released earlier this month?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is great to have had the opportunity to talk with the business community over the past few months about ways we can work together to support local jobs, particularly in areas where we can provide some certainty and leadership to the business community.

Last week, during the Business Council's state of the territory address, I spoke of the strength of the ACT economy but said that we were certainly exposed to the effects of the commonwealth, in particular to any proposed further reduction in commonwealth spending across the territory. We know that the commonwealth public sector's contribution to the ACT economy in terms of overall employment is approximately 31 per cent. Commonwealth estimates suggest that approximately 14,500 jobs will be cut across the Australian public service, with speculation that 6,000 of those may come from Canberra in the next few years.

The ACT budget is a small but significant player in our economy, at just nine per cent. We cannot step in to cover or compensate for a rapid or large-scale contraction from the commonwealth. That is why we have taken a very careful and strategic approach to our discussions with the business community. In particular, we have recognised the importance that the construction industry plays in the ACT economy. It contributed $3.3 billion to gross state product in terms of total factor income in 2012-13 and 6½ per cent of ACT employment as at November 2013, with a 10-year growth of 46.6 per cent overall.

The package that we announced the week before last was developed in consultation with the Master Builders Association, the Canberra Business Council, the Property Council, the Housing Industry Association and the ACT chamber of commerce and industry, with the very strong objective behind it to support local employment,


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