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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2199 ..


MR BARR: You cannot make it up again—

MADAM SPEAKER: No, it is out of order; you have rephrased it.

Multicultural affairs—community language schools

MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Minister, the ACT Community Languages Schools Association have written to both of us about the impending loss of access to teaching spaces in my electorate of Yerrabi. I would like to know what the government is doing to support ongoing affordable access by community languages to classes in the ACT.

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Braddock for the question. We both acknowledge how valuable language is and the important role that community language schools play in ensuring that multicultural languages are maintained and promoted.

I want to give a broad overview, before I get to the detail of the question, for those who might not be aware: the ACT government investment in community language schools is over $275,000 annually. CSD works with the association to provide annual funding grants to over 40 schools representing 34 languages and over 2,000 students in the ACT.

To the detail of the question: we have recently undertaken a review into community language schools, part of which is subject to a motion tomorrow. I note that Mr Braddock’s motion calls for the review and the response to be tabled at the end of October this year. The government is currently working on a cross-directorate response to the review, because, as Mr Braddock noted, community language schools operate in a range of venues, including in schools. We are aware that there are some concerns about the current use of facilities, including with schools. CSD, in addition to responding to the report, is also working with the ACT Education Directorate on the issues that have been raised with me and with Mr Braddock.

Of course, the ACT government supports the community use of public school facilities, but we need to ensure that there is a real balance there with community use as well as the important school operations, and that public schools are community hubs and their facilities enrich the lives of all local residents, not just those who attend the school.

MR BRADDOCK: Whilst grateful for the support that the ACT government provides to community languages, I would just question how the provision of grants to community languages is returned to the government in the form of hire fees for community-owned spaces. Is that a business model that is going to continue?

MADAM SPEAKER: I remind members that the second supplementary is direct with no preamble. I gave you some grace there, Mr Braddock, but not next time.

MS CHEYNE: This was subject to the review. The tabling of the review and the response to the review will address that.


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