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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2637..


MR BARR (continuing):

request that that information be made public; others will not. But in the end, the review of all those submissions is appropriately done by the Department of Education and Training.

DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. Will the department also accept, consider and respond to submissions that look more broadly at the Towards 2020 plan's underlying analysis of and strategy for public education—in other words, not just schools but the broader view?

MR BARR: Yes, the department and the government welcome submissions across the broad range of issues. We look forward to receiving a whole range of interesting ideas and views on the future of public education.

Schools—closures

MS PORTER: My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Training. The government has put forward a proposal for renewing Canberra's public school system that tackles the difficult issues of school closures and improving our school infrastructure. Can the minister inform the Assembly of any alternative views?

MR BARR: The government has announced a major renewal of our schools. Towards 2020: renewing our schools is an important reform of our public education system that seeks to respond to significant challenges that must be addressed. Those challenges relate to demographic changes, to the drift out of the public system and into the private system, and the equitable distribution of resources within the education system.

Our goal is to ensure the equitable provision of those education resources across the territory and to seek to make public education the first choice for Canberra families. We need to meet the needs of students in the 21st century and maintain our world-class educational outcomes. The Stanhope Labor government has tackled this issue head-on and has put forward a proposal to renew and reform our public education system. That is in stark contrast to the policy vacuum from members across the chamber. Where are their education policies? Where are their ideas and proposals for meeting the challenges that exist in our public education system?

Mrs Dunne: What did you say about that before the election? You said, "We won't close any schools."

MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition will come to order.

MR BARR: Opposition members have no policies, they have no ideas and they have no coherent stance on these issues. The motions moved by Mrs Dunne and the Greens and the amendments they put forward to the Education Act have not been about how we can reform and renew our public education system to keep it the best in the country and to ensure its sustainability and viability into the future. They have not been about making sure that our students are learning in quality, modern learning environments. They have not been about making sure we have an education system that meets the needs of ACT students.

Members interjecting—


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