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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 556..


(c) invest in education in the ACT to provide better opportunities for our children; and

(d) work towards the continuing improvement of results for ACT students.

I move this motion on the national education reform agreement as the value of high-quality education for our children and young people is beyond question.

There are significant national debates occurring in Australia at this time about school funding reform and school performance, none more so than those debates generated by the new Australian government and its education minister. This means that at this time school funding reform and school improvement in Australia are a hotly contested topic, a topic that those with a strong belief in the value of quality education for our children and our young people must step up to argue and defend. It is not just about the future of the children and young people who attend our schools; it is also about the children and young people of the future who will attend those schools.

Given the significant national activity and debate on the future of our schools and the future of our children and young people, it is timely for the ACT government to clearly restate its commitment to a direction and approach to school improvement and school funding reform that are driven by student need.

No topic is more important in these debates than school funding reform based on the needs of our students. I have tabled this motion on the national education reform agreement, which the ACT government has signed with the Australian government, because we should all want an Australian school system where all Australian children and young people are entitled to receive an excellent education through the provision of a high-quality and appropriately funded school system—that is, access to quality education, irrespective of where they live, their circumstances or the school they attend.

The ACT government is clearly a strong believe in the value of quality education for our children and young people. There is a high level of commonality between the ACT government's goals and the national goals set out in "Better schools: a national plan for school improvement", which forms part of the national education reform agreement. On 30 May last year, the Australian government and the ACT government, through the Chief Minister and the then Prime Minister, signed a heads of agreement as a schedule to the national education reform agreement to fund and implement school funding reforms known as the Gonski reforms.

Then, last August, the previous Australian government education minister and Minister Burch, on behalf of the ACT government, signed the national plan for school improvement for the ACT, the implementation plan. This implementation plan for the ACT, with the heads of agreement, forms part of the Australian Capital Territory bilateral agreement for the national education reform agreement. The bilateral agreement details how the agreed implementation of the national school reform agenda will progress in the ACT.


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