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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 March 2004) . . Page.. 950 ..

I repeat that I admire the sentiment of what Ms Dundas is proposing, but a lot more work has to be done to derive a clearer grasp of the viability of such a scheme and the ways and means of its operation. Therefore, on the information provided, I cannot offer my support for this motion as it stands. However, I am prepared to support the motion if amended and support Mr Corbell’s amendments. I will speak to the other amendments after they are tabled and I will be moving an amendment.

MS DUNDAS (11.12): I will take the time to talk specifically about Mr Corbell’s amendments while we wait for Mrs Cross’s amendments to be circulated, because without seeing them I think we are all a bit confused. I am happy with Mr Corbell’s first amendment to change “many” to “some” public school students. But I have a problem with his second amendment to substitute “investigate the need for” for “establish”.

I think the case is quite clear that we need to be supporting students at school now. We do not need to wait for another investigation. There have been so many calls through to my office from families, and I know of so many families, in the community whose children have been affected. Even before I was lucky enough to be made a member of this place, I heard of so many children who were missing out because of the family financial situation. People I worked with would come to work and complain that they had to make the choice between paying some household bills and allowing their children to participate in educational activities. They talked about the pain their kids were going through as they tried to fit in at school when their parents could not afford the extras.

Mrs Cross made a comparison with the bursary scheme and mentioned that the bursary scheme is about core educational requirements. The point that I am putting forward is that so many of the excursions that school students are asked to go on have become part of the core educational requirements. I know it is stated policy of the education department that this is not the case, but even I experienced not being able to go on a science excursion when most of my classmates went out into the national park overnight looking at birds, rock formations and trees. I missed out on almost a term’s worth of understanding because I missed out on that excursion. I did not have the 3D physical sensations to go with what was trying to be taught in class. I did not have the references when the teacher said, “Remember what happened when we went down to this and the rocks looked like this.” I never saw those rocks.

These excursions have become part of the core curriculum, even though they are not meant to be. So we are talking about core educational needs that these excursions are filling. We ask our schools to do so much in the development of children and young people. Even the year 7 camps and the year 10 camps that are about relationships and development are part of the core that we are asking our teachers to provide to students. I just wanted to make those few points while members had time to consider Mrs Cross’s amendment.

MR SPEAKER: The question is that Mr Corbell’s amendments be agreed to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MR SPEAKER: The question now is that the motion, as amended, be agreed to.

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