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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5017 ..

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, why are you considering cutting the six positions dedicated to Indigenous literacy and numeracy as part of the debt efficiency dividend cuts?

MR BARR: As I indicated last week, the department is reorganising the way it delivers services to schools, and that has meant a series of changes in the way that that particular unit is constructed. That unit has more responsibilities than just Indigenous education. It supports a range of other support services and activities within the ACT Department of Education and Training.

As I said last week, the government is seeking efficiency dividends from all ACT government agencies. Education is not exempt from that; nor should it be. The department must continue to strive to deliver its services more efficiently to schools, by reorganising the way it does things, to reflect the fact that some programs have not been as successful as we would have hoped.

Some of that is evident in the NAPLAN data. We are changing the way we deliver services. The test of whether this is an improvement and will improve outcomes will be seen in future NAPLAN data.

MS BRESNAN: Mr Speaker, a supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. How do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students rate against the 90 per cent year 12 achievement goal for the ACT as quoted in the COAG report?

MR BARR: I do not have that level of detail in front of me at the moment. It would not surprise me if Indigenous students were not at that 90 per cent retention rate. Overall, as a jurisdiction, the ACT performs better than all other states and territories, and as a jurisdiction our Indigenous students perform better than Indigenous students in all other states and territories. But that does not mean that the gap has been eliminated, as I have said in response to an earlier question from Ms Hunter.

This is one of the areas that we will be focusing on as part of the youth compact, the transitions and attainments program, that we are in a national partnership with the commonwealth government on. Funding has been provided to the territory, and we have provided our own resources as well, in order to address just these issues. Will it happen in one year? No, it will not. It will take time to bridge this gap.

We have probably had a century of effort in this area. A lot of it has been well intentioned, but it has not always worked. Focusing on programs and activities and getting outcomes is what we need to do now. That means having an evidence base. We have got for the first time, through the My School website and through the NAPLAN data, publicly available information so that questions like this can be asked and so that there is accountability, at a ministerial level but also at an education system and school level, to ensure that outcomes can be improved.

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