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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 156 ..

What has been the minister’s response so far to these results? There was a glimmer of concession when he stated that we may have been coasting and that there is an action plan for the areas that need more attention. In fact the minister stated that he would be targeting resources. And as Mr Seselja so elegantly put it, who has been coasting? Is it the schools or is it the government? I think we all know which way the finger-pointing should go. But of course that is constantly deflected. It is always somebody else’s problem. But it is high time that responsibility was taken by this minister and this government for their own inactivity.

What does this really mean? Should we believe that the results were a complete surprise? Should we just be looking at funding in the vain hope that things will improve, close our eyes and hope for the best? This seems too much like a kneejerk reaction. No consideration has gone into the prospect of the impact in some schools. Other programs may be forsaken in pursuit of better NAPLAN results and the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged may even grow.

When it comes to the report on government services, the most damning data to come out of this publication is the lack of funding for non-government schools, which is the lowest in the country. This is backed up by the latest national report on schooling in Australia. This government only provide for a non-government school student 18 per cent of the funding of a government school student, compared with an average of 25 per cent funding in other states. This government have failed to realise that equitable funding of the non-government education sector adds considerably to the quality of education that can be found across the board.

It is the basic right of everyone to choose which education system they wish. It is also a basic right of every student with a disability to access equitable funding regardless of which school they go to. Here the disparities are incredibly greater than previously stated.

The Productivity Commission has effectively given the ACT government a fail mark across a number of areas, including education. The message is clear: 8½ years of ACT Labor and they have failed on many fronts.

Since 2002 we have seen many key indicators fall from above national average to trailing every other jurisdiction. I reiterate what my colleagues before me have said: things have not got better; they have got significantly worse; and we, in Canberra, are paying more and getting less. That is the legacy of this government.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.13), in reply: I thank members for their contributions to the debate. It is worth responding to a little of what has been said. It is unfortunate, I think, that the Chief Minister, instead of actually accepting that there are some very concerning figures in the Productivity Commission report, simply attacked. And we see that time and time again.

Instead of saying, “Gee, these are concerning,” we would expect the leader of our government would look at these figures—whether it is on waiting lists, whether it is the amount we spend per day per prisoner, whether it is the cost of childcare or

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