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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 312 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

are very keen to see. Incidentally, Ms McRae, for your information, Simon Crean and Ross Free are also very keen to see the strides we are making in sport and PE. They support that totally. Maybe you should have a little bit of a chat to them about what they would like to see and what State Ministers would like to see in vocational education and training. That is certainly something this Government is progressing.

We realise that a lot of students in our system do not necessarily want to go on to university and that there are many other courses that they can be prepared for. Vocational education and training courses are quite crucial for many of our students. When the bans affect those, they affect the potential livelihoods of some of our kids. Again, I think it is really dreadful that these bans have been imposed, and I hope that that situation will not last for much longer. Ms McRae, vocational education is something that this Government is progressing. Despite problems with the union and despite the hiccups we are currently experiencing because of the union, we will continue to progress that further, because many of our students will benefit greatly from enhanced vocational training and education courses in our colleges.

Mr Speaker, this Government has made some significant strides in a number of areas. We have certainly put more computers into schools. We have continued to do that. What we have done in sport and PE has been as a result of extensive consultation, and I thank the Greens for their assistance in that. That was positive. It has come up with something which is unique to our system. It is excellent and puts us at the forefront in that area where we had lagged sadly behind under the previous Government. We are at the forefront in Australia in that area, as indeed we are in a number of other areas.

There are a number of areas where we have already delivered. We will continue to deliver in difficult times. The effort is going into school-based management. With the consultation process, ideas are coming forward and there is recognition of the potential pitfalls. Let us not forget that. That is what consultation is all about. That is what listening to people is all about. The information and the ideas we are getting, and the way we are working through them, will prove to be of excellent assistance to our education system, as I think many people in that system realise. It is simply a matter of working through it and coming up with the best possible model for our schools. Despite the fact that the Opposition would have you believe that it is all doom and gloom - what rubbish! - I think we have delivered substantially more than they possibly could have delivered had they been in government. Indeed, as the Chief Minister said, we at least indicated that we would increase funding. We have done so, whichever way you look at it. I wonder whether they would have done the same.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR SPEAKER: I would like to welcome the pupils and teachers of the Sacred Heart Primary School. I think it is most timely and appropriate that they should be here during an education debate. Welcome.

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