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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 3 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 976..


MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, why is it important for all streets in Canberra to be safe streets, regardless of where people choose to live?

MR RATTENBURY: Unfortunately what we see right across the city is increasing numbers of complaints from residents about speeding traffic in their suburbs. I get a lot of constituent correspondence, and I also receive representations from members right across this chamber from people who are concerned. The challenge for Roads ACT in the context of what I was talking about earlier is that a group of people in Canberra believe it is their right to drive at any speed wherever they want whenever they want and another group of Canberrans actually want to see that curtailed. We have to try and strike the appropriate balance.

I unashamedly say that I will fall on the side of safety. I will fall on the side that says we actually want our neighbourhoods to be places where parents can feel comfortable about our children heading down to the local park or going out on their bike to get to school knowing that traffic is constrained to a reasonable speed that actually matches the delivery of relative safety on our streets whilst maximising the convenience for motorists. It is a tough balance but, as I say, I will always fall on the side of promoting safety for our communities when it comes to roads.

Schools—enrolments

MS PORTER: My question, through you, Madam Speaker, is to the minister for education. Minister, I refer to a report in today's Canberra Times about the latest ACT school census. Can you inform the Assembly what the census shows about enrolments in ACT schools?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her interest in our education system. Indeed, the latest ACT school census shows the tremendous confidence families have in our education system across public, Catholic and independent schools. The census shows there are 70,560 students enrolled at all our ACT schools, an increase of 2½ per cent on last year's figures. Since 2010, enrolments at ACT schools have increased by 7.9 per cent.

The census also shows the great confidence in our public schools, with enrolments continuing a six-year growth trend. Public schools now account for 59.8 per cent of all enrolments, an increase of 1,332 students or 3.3 per cent on last year.

The increased share of public school enrolments has been driven by higher enrolments in primary schools and colleges. Our public primary school enrolments have increased to 64.1 per cent and colleges to 61.6 per cent. High schools remain steady at 50 per cent.

The best result for our community is where each sector—public, Catholic and independent—is showing healthy growth. This is what the census shows. Our schools provide choice to ACT families, all of which provide a quality education and put students and their families at the centre.


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