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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 573 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

In that regard, it does concern us that the only measure that seems to be on the table at the moment is an effective reduction in the salary packages that apply to lower and middle level public servants in terms of a reduction in their overall superannuation. That, we do not think, is sufficient.

Ms Carnell: It is not sufficient.

MR QUINLAN: No; of course, it is not. With that, we recommend that the reports be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Ministerial Statement and Paper

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education): Mr Speaker, I seek leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on literacy.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, members. This Government is committed to the fundamental importance of literacy and numeracy development to a student's educational success. We also recognise that these skills are vital to students' lifelong opportunities as productive and fulfilled members of society. I am talking about literacy in a very broad sense, because literacy today as well needs to be founded on the basic skills of reading, writing and spelling. But the skills young people need go well beyond those basics. For instance, students need to understand and be comfortable with the language, structure and capacities of computers; they need to understand the peculiarities of the way electronic and print media messages are directed and delivered; they need to understand the covert messages embedded in advertising material; and, to achieve competency in these complex facets of communication, they need to be very well groomed in those essential basic tools of literacy I spoke of initially - reading, writing and spelling.

The ACT is leading the nation in ensuring that our students are literate. Their high levels of literacy competency will equip them to take their place in society and in the work force. The world of work, as all members will know, is vastly different to the one most of us entered at the completion of our education. The low-skilled entry level positions that used to be available are a thing of the past. Employers expect and demand high standards of every worker, including those new to the work force. The competition for jobs is rigorous. So, each and every student must leave school with the most highly developed literacy skills, which we can provide and they can attain, as a vital part of the diverse range of skills they will need to succeed in work and in society. That diverse range of skills cannot be achieved if students do not first have confidence and competency in literacy.

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