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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 August 2019) . . Page.. 2583 ..

The government’s response was:

Government schools are already free to invite members of the public to events, for example fetes, citizenship ceremonies, fundraisers and open days held at the school. Events like graduations and sports days are not open to the general public, and therefore access to these events by members will depend on the circumstances of the event.

As has been the practice under previous ministers—and I should probably offer some commendation to previous education ministers Mr Rattenbury and Ms Burch, the current Speaker, in their time in the portfolio—whilst the opposition did not always see eye to eye with the policy, when requests were made for visits, they were accommodated in a forthright manner, and they were always accommodated in the right spirit. That is not the case currently.

The opposition will be keen to see whether the work that has been done thus far actually changes the minister’s approach to this, because largely it is up to the way the minister interprets the guidelines. Certainly, the JACS guideline, which was alluded to in the admin and procedure report, operates quite effectively. The only reason that the minister, in that sense, could deny a visit is for operational reasons. When you are visiting places such as correctional facilities, that is a fair consideration; likewise, in schools, if there is testing going on, exams or other significant events, I do not think that anyone in this place would have an issue with being told, “That’s not a suitable day, here’s an alternative date that might suit.” But that has not been the practice thus far. Likewise, opportunities to attend graduation ceremonies or special cultural days held by schools have also ceased to exist.

The opposition will be watching very carefully to see whether or not there is a change in the approach to visits to public schools, and we will reserve the right to bring this matter back at a future date if required. Overwhelmingly, we are very disappointed by the lecture that was given in the government’s response to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure report on school visits.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Economic Development and Tourism—Standing Committee

Report 6

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.01): I present the following report:

Economic Development and Tourism—Standing Committee—Report 6—Inquiry into drone delivery systems in the ACT, dated 25 July 2019, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings

I move:

That the report be noted.

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