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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 65 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

we have the significant advantage that other jurisdictions do not have of owning a stock of land. There are a number of areas there that we will be looking to take up. With the higher profile of the housing advisory committee and its subcommittee, we hope to make some progress.

MS GALLAGHER: I have a supplementary question. What is the timeframe for this action?

MR WOOD: I had a meeting with officers and the chair of the housing advisory committee just a few days ago and we discussed the matter in general terms. There is a bit more refining to be done. I have to talk to Mr Corbell and, perhaps, some of my other colleagues. The Treasurer might play a role in that. We would be looking for a reporting date of about September or October of next year. If there is any action we can take in the interim, we will be looking at that as well.

Literacy and numeracy testing

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to Mr Corbell as minister for education. Minister, as you are aware, the OECD recently found that 15-year-old students in the ACT have higher standards than those in any of the other states and territories in Australia and, indeed, the world. This is a great credit to them, their teachers, their parents and, to an extent, the Liberal government over the last six years. I refer particularly to the introduction, despite some opposition at the time from your party, of literacy and numeracy testing.

Might I remind you that in 1996 the then spokesperson on education, Ms McRae, said:

What is the value of an inherent right to know whether you are dumb or whether you are smart or an inherent right to know if your school is one that fails or one that succeeds?

Can you assure the community that the ACT Labor government now fully supports literacy and numeracy testing in our schools? Minister, will you work-as I and the previous government did-to ensure that our parents in the ACT have full and accurate information about the performance of their children and of their schools?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question. The new government is committed to ensuring that parents are aware of their children's performance in school. It is essential that parents have the opportunity to be fully apprised of the performance and achievements of their children, and the moves towards literacy and numeracy testing are an important element of that.

But Mr Stefaniak is aware that his side of the house and this side of the house have a fundamental disagreement about how this testing and reporting should take place. It would be fair to say that Mr Stefaniak and the previous government advanced the possibility in the ACT of creating a league table-type system that would compare schools facing disadvantage with schools that have advantages, particularly in socio-economic factors, and which would try to line them up against each other.

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