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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 635 ..

MR STEFANIAK: The answer to that, firstly, in terms of any courses not being available, is that the number is very few. As Ms Follett probably should know from her time as Chief Minister, individual colleges on occasions each year will not offer certain courses, simply because there are not enough students wishing to take them. I will be happy to provide the former Leader of the Opposition with a list, on a college-by-college basis, of exactly what is not available this year. I would stress, though, that, on a college-by-college basis, in previous years there always has been a number of courses, for various reasons, that have not been available. In terms of the education budget, I do not think it has probably registered on members opposite that this Government has spent $206.3m this year on public education. That is the greatest amount spent by any government since self-government.

Ministerial Advisory Council on Government Schooling

MR OSBORNE: My question, which is directed to the Minister for Education and Training, Mr Stefaniak, is in regard to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Government Schooling. In the make-up of this council, why have you given only one place out of 13 to the parents and citizens organisation - a reduction from two to one?

MR STEFANIAK: The simple answer to that is that it is a smaller council, to make it more efficient. There is a parent rep from the P and C council. There also happens to be a parent who represents the school boards. As I have indicated to the press on a number of occasions, I have every confidence in the member from the P and C council being well able to voice the concerns and points of view of that organisation.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that the teachers have two representatives on this council, and in order to fully endorse the concept of parents being partners with teachers in schooling, is it not reasonable for parents to expect the same level of representation as the teachers?

MR STEFANIAK: As I indicated, there is a member from the P and C council and a representative from the school boards who is also a parent. I think, on a council of 13, that is a very good representation. It is the most impressive council. All individuals are very capable, and I am sure that they will represent the sector that has put them there to the very best of their ability and with great aplomb.

Industrial Action by Teachers - Student Activities

MR WOOD: My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Training. In your position as Minister, did you issue directives or instructions, through the Education Department, to students in regard to any stop-work or strike activity that they might have planned in support of teachers? If you did, what instructions were given?

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