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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 83 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

tried to cut some 80 teachers. You, Mr Deputy Speaker, made some statements and you said:

Education has not, over a four-year period, declined in funding to the extent that the ACT budget has. We are not in a position-I do not think anybody except a couple of members in this chamber asserts that we are-to increase funding for education.

Even the P&C, in their recent submissions and their recent comments, have indicated that, since self-government, the largest rise, on their figures, was under us from 1995 onwards for a three-year period. So I think those contrasts can be made and I do not think they are very favourable to the Australian Labor Party.

I think it's worth saying that during that time there were some real concerns. In 1993 teachers instigated an industrial campaign, including walking off the job in protest of the then government's plan to cut $4.26 million from the education budget. In the case of the 1993-94 budget the Australian Education Union and the TLC wrote in a budget submission that the education budget had been reduced to a point where the quality of service and education outcomes were at risk. The P&C also had grave commitments because it wrote in its submission that a commitment to the goals of government schooling must be supported by commitments to adequate funding. So I think it was somewhat hypocritical for Mr Berry to make that first statement.

Mr Berry referred to cuts in education and to some of those reports. It is interesting to look at those reports, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I will mention something in relation to that. He mentioned that we have dropped to about fifth place in terms of secondary schooling. I think those very reports indicate that back in 1991-92 and 1992-93 the ACT was fifth. In terms of that Productivity Commission report, he refers to total government expenditure per student-

Mr Corbell: The dog's dinner.

MR STEFANIAK: I will come to that in a minute, Mr Corbell. Yes, I think that has us as fifth, having dropped, I might say, from second, second, second respectively in the three previous years. But what was it like under Labor? In 1991-92 and 1992-93 it was fourth in both years. So that is particularly interesting.

I will quote from page 74 of the Productivity Commission report where they say that "some concerns remain over the comparability of the results because jurisdictions use somewhat different methods of data collection". They go on to summarise those differences in table 3.10 on page 75. It is interesting that no two states and territories really seem to be alike in any two categories, so caution does need to be exercised. I will table those two statements. I think they will be handy for the record. I present the following paper:

Government expenditure per student-Copies of:

Comparability of expenditure 1988-99-Table.

Government recurrent expenditure per student-Extract from Report on Government Services 2001 (page 74).

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