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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4240 ..

Of course, ArtSound’s main game is broadcasting. That is what it has been doing full time, 24/7, for over 10 years. All the broadcasting is presented by an army of over 100 volunteers. ArtSound could not do all of this without the support of the community and sponsors. Over 1,000 members support ArtSound and a large number of sponsors have seen fit to throw their support behind the organisation. The ACT government has been a very strong supporter of ArtSound, as has Actew Corporation. The Canberra Southern Cross Club is also a longstanding major sponsor, and it is good to be able to acknowledge that support as well as that of many other sponsors of ArtSound here today.

Recently, ArtSound announced a program called “ambassadors circle”. This program enables supporters of ArtSound to act as ambassadors for the station and its many activities. The organisation’s patron, His Excellency Michael Bryce, was proud to make the announcement of the Ambassadors Circle recently at Government House.

I congratulate ArtSound and I wish it well for its future success, particularly in the run-up to its major fundraising activity, its radiothon in November. There will be opportunities for members to visit the ArtSound facilities and see first hand just how excellent they are—but also, more importantly, see the excellence of the work that is done by many volunteers. I encourage members to put their hands in their pockets and become a financial supporter of ArtSound during the radiothon in November.

Education—special needs

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (4.44): Recently, I joined the ACT education department, the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools at Old Parliament House to publicly launch a new plan and partnership to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities in all ACT schools. The excellence in disability education strategic plan 2010-13 will guide us as we take on the most important of challenges, making sure that every young Canberran gets an education that helps them reach their potential.

If an education system is working properly, every student will find education a challenge. But some kids face special challenges when it comes to education—and none more so than those with disabilities. Just as these students face extra challenges and have to work harder, so must all of us involved in education. That is why I am very pleased that the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools are joining with the ACT Labor government to work more closely together for the benefit of students with a disability in the ACT.

Members will recall that last year I commissioned Professor Tony Shaddock to conduct an in-depth review into disability education in the territory. The Shaddock review now forms a sound basis for long-term planning for disability education. The contribution made by the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools to the Shaddock review and the development of the strategic plans we launched has set a firm foundation for cooperation in the area of special education.

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