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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1866..

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mrs Dunne

Mr Seselja

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Dr Foskey

Mr Smyth

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Corbell

Ms MacDonald

Mr Pratt

Ms Gallagher

Ms Porter

Question so resolved in the negative.

Education Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 6 June 2006, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR BARR (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.43), in reply: I will not speak for long. In wrapping up, I think we have a proposal now that can see this process move forward. We need to reform our education system. We need to engage in a constructive debate with the community. I look forward to doing that in the next six months.

It is very important that all views are heard. It is equally important that, at the conclusion of this process, we arrive at some change in our education system. To stay the same will see that system slowly decay and reach a point of minority status and, as the previous minister referred to, leave us with nothing but a safety net education system in the public sector. To me that is unacceptable.

I will seek in the next six months to engage constructively, as I said before, with all members of the community. There is a strong process in the 2020 statement around public meetings, opportunities for feedback, engagement with school boards and school communities. It is something that this government is committed to, it is something that I understand I will be held accountable for, and that is something I have no problems with. It is important for me as minister to engage as widely and as constructively as I can, and I give that commitment in this place to do that.

As I have said, it is a difficult process that we are about to embark on but the guidelines and the proposals that I have here in the Education Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2) set a good framework to undertake that proposal. We now have something concrete to talk about. There is a range of options. There is a variety of proposals around early childhood, around middle schooling and around how we can improve the VET focus in our secondary colleges. This is an exciting debate we can have about the future of public education in the ACT. It is something that I think is long overdue.

Let us look forward. Let us look forward not only to 2010 but to 2015 and 2020. Let us have a look forward at what our education system can be. Let us have a look at how the money that is in this budget can be invested wisely to increase the quality of our public education system. It is something I am personally very committed to.

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