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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 3835 ..


small jurisdiction. But right now, and for some time, we have gone off track. Pious pie-in-the-sky dreamtime statements on the future of education conversations are not going to get us there. Clearly, the government is of no mind to want to find out, either.

It is not good enough for Canberra parents to be told that ACT schools lead all other jurisdictions. Given our size, our relative affluence, and the higher SES assessments of education and employment of parents, the ACT should be at the top. But it turns out that we are at the top of a country that is struggling to keep up. We have countries such as Vietnam, Slovenia, Macau and Estonia ahead of us. UNICEF ranks only Romania and Turkey below Australia in education in the latest UNICEF report card.

We have numerous reports that speak directly to what is happening in ACT schools and still a blank wall from the minister. Our two largest expenditure items in the ACT budget are health and education. Decent hardworking taxpayers have a right to expect better performances from both.

The minister referred to education as an investment, and she is right. But every investment, and particularly of public funds, must be a good one. There is no-one who would think throwing money at something for worse returns is a good thing. It does not matter what it is. Instead, health and education appear to be in a race to the bottom in the poor ministerial leadership stakes. The amendments provided by the minister are just another avoidance of reality. Canberra families have to be content with the exciting prospect of another dreamtime story from the minister next February.

I am disappointed but not surprised at the lack of accountability of this minister. We have seen it demonstrated already today and I suspect we will continue to see it. This minister is incapable of facing reality and addressing shortcomings. In not doing so, she does our teachers, our principals, our parents and our students a major disservice. Our hardworking teachers have every right to feel let down by the complete lack of leadership and accountability of this education minister. Through her poor leadership, the minister is failing our future generation.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 11: Ms Berry Ms J Burch Ms Cheyne Ms Fitzharris Mr Gentleman Ms Le Couteur Ms Orr Mr Pettersson Mr Ramsay Mr Rattenbury Mr Steel

Noes 8: Miss C Burch Mr Coe Mrs Dunne Mr Hanson Mrs Kikkert Ms Lawder Ms Lee Mr Wall

Amendment agreed to.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.


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