Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1091 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
being a lot of angst in the community. I notice that my vote in 1998 and yours, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, were a little bit up on 1995, so I think Mr Berry might be wrong.
Spence school was also mentioned. When the community picks one campus rather than the other, the decision is not going to be unanimous. I can recall a number of letters. I received about six. Some people were not happy with what happened. You have to expect that. But there was an excellent community consultation effort. It was perhaps a model of how a community can itself look at what is best for it, go through quite a lengthy process and come up with a recommendation to government. I would have been a complete fool and derelict in my duty if I had not acted on what the community wanted.
Mr Berry and Ms Tucker indicated that we should look at more than just the school community. We are running a school system. I think in what they said about shops they are wrong. I will just read out a list of suburbs that have very good, vibrant local shops but do not have schools: Griffith, Spence, Hackett, Holder, Downer and Fisher. Suburbs where shops are struggling or where there are very few shops in the shopping centres are those where there are schools, quite often reasonable sized schools. I instance my own suburb of Macgregor, as well as Rivett, Weetangera, and Aranda, which has both a Catholic primary school and a state primary school very close to the shops. Maybe that argument needs to be looked at further by my colleagues opposite.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.11): I want to enter this debate because I think it is important that we look at how we develop a plan, a vision, a strategy, for our schools going into the twenty-first century. This is a matter of more concern to me today than ever before. This year my eldest child entered the school system and my youngest child entered the preschool system, so I am finding myself more and more drawn to issues to do with the way in which schools are run, the way in which boys and girls interact in schools, the way in which leadership is provided by teachers and the way in which schools are organised. I think it is timely for the Assembly as well to come back to a debate which we have had on a number of occasions over the last 10 years but which we need to restate and to re-engage in because it is fundamental to the way in which our community operates.
The structure of our school system and the capacity of the school system to provide an effective path for young people to become responsible citizens are critical to the effectiveness of our community - not necessarily today, but if we get it right it will have a major and very direct impact on the way in which our society operates and facilitates participation in 20 years' time or sooner.
Fundamental to that debate is the allocation of resources. Mr Berry, in his remarks, made reference to what he called the continual infatuation with the almighty dollar. It is unfortunate that we need to talk about dollars in connection with issues of educational vision, but it is fundamentally impossible to separate the question of educational vision from the resources we put into the exercise of determining, articulating and