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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 2086 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

I have been in touch with the Minister's office about these students, who have acted in the correct belief that Lake Tuggeranong College is their priority enrolment area college. I understand that Kambah is the only Canberra suburb to have two priority enrolment area colleges, a fact apparently not known outside the department. Minister, for various reasons, these students made their first choice Erindale College but when that was not successful, despite their indicating on the enrolment form that Lake Tuggeranong College was their second choice, they were passed over to Canberra College because of a claimed shortage of capacity at Lake Tuggeranong College. The application form for secondary college enrolments states:

Students resident in the priority enrolment area for a chosen college are guaranteed a place in that college if their application is received by the due date.

At no time was it spelt out to these students and their parents that, because their suburb was in the priority enrolment area for two colleges, the department could decide where they would go if they were unsuccessful in achieving their first choice. They all believed the department's guarantee of their chosen college. They believed they would get their second choice of Lake Tuggeranong. They have now, effectively, been given no choice. The departmental letter informing them of the decision states:

This may come as a surprise to you ...

As one parent said:

Not a surprise but a horrid shock!

By this I mean no reflection on the fine Canberra College. If students had been told up front that, as they were also in the priority area for Canberra College, a second choice of Lake Tuggeranong could be interpreted as a second choice for Canberra College, they would have acted differently. They would have put Lake Tuggeranong as their first choice and secured their place there for the next two years. Minister, I am simply asking whether you will look at this issue personally - I judge by the body language that you are not, perhaps, informed about it - and ensure that the guarantee these students were given on their enrolment forms is kept?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. Mr Wood has written to me about that. I saw the letter either yesterday or the day before and passed it on to the department. I am aware of it to that extent and I will certainly look at it personally and get back to Mr Wood about the matters raised.

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