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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4125..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

key factor in strengthening public education would be strengthening the gifted and talented programs as they operate across the territory. When referring to the question about Lyons primary school Mr Barr said, "I am absolutely committed to the continuation of that program."That commitment lasted for only six months.

Today's decision means it is highly probable that it will be impossible to continue to run the bilingual program after 2009 when Lyons primary school becomes a P to 2 school. One of the parents asked me today where that idea came from. I do not know. Presumably the minister pulled it out of his hat. On the subject of P to 2 schools, today I was asked by a number of people, "Where is the logic in that process?"The minister says he is in favour of investing money in early childhood education. I challenge any member of this Assembly to put up their hands if they are not in favour of that. It is like being in favour of motherhood.

Taking half a dozen schools and cutting off their prospect of having a viable enrolment by saying that they can only enrol children between the ages of four and seven is not good education policy. What happens to those children at the end of that process? Everyone is in favour of substantial investments in early childhood education. We do not know whether the early childhood education proposal put forward by the minister today, which is ill-thought out, will be in the best interests of the children of the ACT.

Every primary school and every super school will still have to invest in early childhood education. Why has this new system, which will result in dislocation in our families, been brought into being? People will have one child at Lyons and another child at a different school, or they will have one child at Isabella Plains and another child at a different school. Another issue of considerable concern to opposition members is: What impact would this have on indigenous programs, which are now operating successfully in Narrabundah primary school, when Narrabundah primary school becomes a P to 2 school in 2009? That issue was not really discussed at all in the Towards 2020 proposal. This afternoon the P to 2 school issue came out of nowhere; we were given no warning.

Valedictory

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.14): As tonight is the last opportunity this year for me to make a speech in the adjournment debate I thought I would give my fellow members a virtual Christmas or Hanukah gift. As a believer in adult and community education I would like to give a virtual gift voucher for a short course. The vouchers come with some ideas for courses that members might find enjoyable and useful. For you, Mr Speaker, I looked for a course on how to stay awake in meetings but I could not find one. Instead you might like to obtain a chainsaw operation certificate to keep us all in line. Alternatively a course entitled "Practical Carpentry for Home Building"might assist, given the state of this Assembly building.

For the Chief Minister it is a toss up between a course on landscape garden design so he can assist with planning for the arboretum, or a course on understanding and using his dreams. For Mr Stefaniak I though a course in beekeeping or one on navigation, coastal might help him in dealing with his party room. Dr Foskey obviously would enjoy a course in ministerial writing and the benefits of learning what a ministerial


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