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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3838 ..


That said, these policies are still on the Australian Greens website, which can only mean that when it comes to taking the axe to non-government schools, it is business as usual. If there is something to be learned from this episode, it is that ideas do have consequences, rhetoric can be interpreted as policy and words can lead to action.

Mr Speaker, I seek support for this motion by all the members of our ACT Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (10.39): The Stanhope Labor government are investing in better education for all children in all of our schools. We are investing in teacher quality—the $3.9 million ACT Teacher Quality Institute starts next year. We are investing in classrooms to teach and learn in, new libraries and halls, new gyms and performing arts centres, new schools and new classrooms where they are needed most. And we have been busy cutting planning red tape so that all our schools can deliver their own school building programs on time and on budget.

We are investing in new ways to teach and learn. We have delivered our $2.1 million election commitment to provide the parent group or association in every ACT school with a one-off $15,000 grant to be spent on projects to improve their school. This investment also included $1,500 for each preschool parent association. Across the ACT, our public, Catholic and independent schools are trialling the national curriculum. It is a strong record of achievement.

But my approach in the future is simple—no investment without reform. So we are publishing school results, because once we can measure performance, we can improve performance. We have begun establishing new accomplished teacher and leading teacher classifications so that we get seniority out and merit in to our teaching profession. We are trialling new powers for our public school principals—in part, learning from what works well in the Catholic and independent sector. We do this because the old public versus private debate in education is over.

There are many powerful reform currents in the contemporary Australian education debate, but Mr Doszpot’s motion today shows he understands none of them. It is the same old debate, provoking the same old division from the same old Liberals. It contains not one new idea. So bereft is he of ideas that this Liberal motion concludes by asking the government to get back to him if we have any suggestions. Well, we do and we will not make the Assembly wait until the end of the year. Here they are right now.

Labor’s ideas are not just about funding; they are about people. They are about schools as workplaces and learning spaces. They are about how teachers, principals, students and parents relate to each other, whether it is the smiling face at the front desk welcoming a child by name each morning, the teacher finding a lost lunch box and delivering it to its owner or the principal noticing a child who is not as outgoing as she used to be and checking in with her to find out why.

The ACT’s most recent school movement survey has shown that quality of education was the most common response parents gave when moving their children from one


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