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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 November 2007) . . Page.. 3558 ..

we support five specialist preschools. That is why we support programs designed to ensure our capacity for early intervention in addressing specific academic and social disadvantage—and, as we all know, if there is one identifiable group within this community and every other community in Australia that does suffer significant academic and social disadvantage, it is of course Indigenous students.

We have made enormous strides within the ACT in ensuring that Indigenous children receive that level of attention and care that allows them to perform favourably with non-Indigenous children within the territory. Indeed, in each of the recent annual ACT assessment program comparisons, Indigenous students in the ACT lead Australia in terms of outcomes and performance.

Year 3 ACTAP results have been comparable in recent years. In 2006 90 per cent of year 5 Indigenous students in the Australian Capital Territory achieved above the national benchmark in literacy and numeracy against the national average of somewhere around 70 per cent. Having said that, across the board and over all the years of education, Indigenous students in the ACT still trail non-Indigenous students by somewhere of the order of 20 per cent. But we have made enormous inroads, giant strides, in ensuring that Indigenous primary schoolchildren in years 3 and 5 are at the point where they are becoming indistinguishable from their non-Indigenous peers.

The aim must be—and it is an aim and an outcome that the government can set for itself, a major challenge—to ensure that at every point through education, from kindergarten to year 12, we reach a point where we cannot distinguish between achievements of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. In recent times, most specifically over the last couple of years, we have provided specific targeted support for year 4 Indigenous students to meet the national benchmarks of literacy and numeracy, and the year 5 result, which I referred to before, showed some of the results of that specific targeted support for year 4 students.

I announced last week an additional $3.3 million to expand the level of individual and targeted support for Indigenous students in ACT public schools. The funding will build on the success of the year 4 literacy and numeracy strategy and ensure that there are individual support packages for every Indigenous student in public education in the Australian Capital Territory through focusing on each student and their particular needs and ensuring that they have the level of support. I believe that over time, with commitment, with resources and with a passionate determination to ensure equality of opportunity for Indigenous students, we will reach a position in the ACT where Indigenous students in our public schools are indistinguishable from their non-Indigenous peers. (Time expired.)


MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for emergency services.

Mr Stanhope: Best schools and best outcomes in Australia.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Dunne and Chief Minister, cease the conversation across the floor.

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