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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 482 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

Clearly, it is very important that the community provide additional focus on indigenous education. That seems to be happening. I welcome that. I look forward to the next report, to see whether we are closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous education, particularly in numeracy. I hope I see in the next report comments about how well the department is connecting with indigenous families and maintaining those important links to encourage our young kids to get on with their education, feeling that they are very much part of the community.

MS DUNDAS (4.40): This report is designed to provide members of the Assembly with a clear guide on the status of indigenous education in the ACT. The report details key areas that need attention, with clearly defined statistics giving a good overview of the state of indigenous education. The level of detail involved leaves no doubt as to the improving but still concerning status of indigenous education in the ACT. The report also details the objectives and programs of the education department in indigenous education. These objectives are admirable and ones that I believe are in the best interests of indigenous education in the ACT.

The ACT Democrats believe the disadvantage that indigenous people suffer in education is a key concern that needs immediate attention in our education system. However, the report's one major failing is that it lacks the finer detail needed to show a way forward. The report is filled with lengthy lists of achievements and plans but does not include the vital details needed to effectively evaluate the methods and means of progression to date or to provide a detailed and practical vision of the future.

This level of detail is vital so that a clear methodology is developed to allow all those involved in indigenous education to be part of the solution instead of being left baffled because of lack of clear guidance. The lengthy list of statistics in the report also needs to be considered. While they do provide a clear view of the current status of indigenous education, statistics must be recognised as being indicators of what needs to happen, not as solutions in themselves.

As always, now is the time for clear actions. The problems with indigenous education have been identified and objectives of the department have been decided on. What is lacking now is an accurate description of how to achieve these objectives and solve the problems facing indigenous people in the education system.

I recognise that this is a complex and difficult issue, one that is not going to be solved overnight. But that should never be an excuse to take no action at all. We await the next report and the next budget to see priorities and progress in indigenous education.

MS TUCKER (4.43): This is the fourth six monthly report on performance in indigenous education. We have had a fifth report, so I might refer to it as well.

MR SPEAKER: Whilst remaining relevant.

MS TUCKER: It is very relevant. It is about the same subject. Because it is the fifth report and not the fourth, am I going to be ruled out of order if I refer to it?

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