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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2647 ..

Education Funding - Teacher Positions

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is also addressed to the Minister for Education. I hope that he does not answer, "Who knows?" when I ask him this question. It also has to do with teachers. Mr Stefaniak, with over 90 teachers employed in central office at the moment, nearly half of whom are level 2 teachers, why is the Government cutting who knows how many teachers - 30, 50, whatever - from colleges in the ACT? I am pleased that you have been able to take advice on this from Mr De Domenico, who I am sure knows exactly how many teachers are in your department and how many are not.

MR STEFANIAK: As Mr Moore probably well knows, Mr Speaker, some of the central office programs which involve teachers are finishing up - for instance, the three-year curriculum development - and some of those teachers will be going back into the workplace.

MR MOORE: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you indicate to the house what percentage of those 90-odd teachers who are currently in central office - in fact, I would appreciate it if you would give us the exact number; I think it is 92 - are going back into schools, and why is it that you need to cut 30 teachers instead of effectively transferring them from the department into schools so that we can get smaller class sizes?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Moore, you were one of the first to criticise cuts in central office. In the budget it was indicated that some people would be going back and that in that area there would be some reduction that, I think, amounted to about 10 per cent. Mr Moore, you were one who criticised that. You asked a number of questions in relation to the effect that that would have. Now you seem to be saying, "Why do you not send 90 teachers from central office, or 92 if that is the number, back to schools?". You are making a mockery of what you have been saying for a couple of months.

Mr Moore: I hope you give us a proper answer.

Year 12 Evening College Program

MR WHITECROSS: It is too much to expect a proper answer from Mr Stefaniak, but I will try, Mr Speaker. My question is also addressed to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as the Minister for Education. Hope springs eternal. Can the Minister provide for this Assembly the reasons why he made changes to the Year 12 evening college program? Has this step by him to remove the subsidy to evening colleges been taken in any other States? How does the Minister think that low income students will be able to deal with this change? Does he think it will be good for low income students, in the same way as slashing the value of taxis was good for small businesses?

MR STEFANIAK: In relation to evening colleges, Mr Whitecross, all students who are currently midway through a Year 12 course will be able to continue at the old rate, and the department is currently investigating ways to look after low income students such as those on pensions.

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