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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5015 ..

MR SMYTH: Thank you. While you are taking that on notice, I would like to find out, minister, what evaluation has been undertaken of the effectiveness of the Canberra BusinessPoint program and what has been the outcome of that evaluation.

MS GALLAGHER: I will take that one on notice too.

MR SPEAKER: A further supplementary, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Because she has not got much to do. Treasurer, perhaps then, as a second supplementary, when will Canberra BusinessPoint recommence providing a complete range of services to the ACT business community?

MR SPEAKER: Are you taking that one on notice as well, Treasurer?

Mr Smyth: No. She has found her brief. She might be able to give us an answer.

MS GALLAGHER: I am just looking to see whether there is a date. I will take that on notice, in the interests of time and a comprehensive answer.

Education—NAPLAN testing

MS HUNTER: My question is to the minister for education and concerns the NAPLAN test results and participation of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Minister, in the 2009 report released last Friday by COAG, it indicated the ACT has the largest gap for year 7 reading between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Given the attention by the Assembly through its inquiry this year and the department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strategic plan on closing the achievement gap, why are we lagging behind other states and the Northern Territory?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. I think Ms Hunter would be aware, as other members would, that we need to have some caution in relation to the data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within ACT schools because of the size of the cohort. In the reporting of NAPLAN data, there is a margin of error and that margin of error clearly demonstrates that the range of possible performance for those Indigenous students in the ACT, whilst below that of non-Indigenous students, is still better than for Indigenous students in all other areas of the country. But the government does acknowledge that there still is a gap in performance. We have invested heavily to address that gap and the NAPLAN data does provide some further information to schools and to individual classroom teachers to assist in working with those Indigenous students who are not either achieving national benchmarks or whose performance can be improved with additional support.

The availability of those additional resources, through a series of budget initiatives going back to 2007-08, has been important in improving the performance of Indigenous students in the ACT. We have, of course, released a new program and a new strategic plan for Indigenous students, working with the Indigenous Elected Body and the Indigenous Education Advisory Council on ways to better engage Indigenous students with schooling, with their education. Later this year, in partnership with the

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