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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 485 ..

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.52): I thank members for their contributions. I support the statements made by Mr Pratt, which could be a first, about working with families and looking at particular age groups where disadvantage is occurring.

Ms Tucker talked about evaluation of the compact. It was launched in December last year. I can find out about whether reviews are built into it. It has not been operating for long. I will also get back to her about the caseload of workers.

I will restrict my comments to the fourth six monthly report on performance in indigenous education. The report was tabled in August 2002. It covers the period to 28 February last year.

Reporting on the performance of indigenous students was initiated by Labor in 2000. The government is committed to providing effective and appropriate support services and programs for indigenous students which will assist them to achieve improved educational outcomes. The government also recognises that many of the needs of indigenous students can be addressed through support programs for all students at risk of not achieving satisfactory outcomes. There are, however, additional needs that the government recognises require targeted assistance.

Progress in indigenous education is being made. However, as other speakers have already pointed out, further work is needed to achieve comparable education outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous students. The ACT government has recently committed itself to a joint project with the Commonwealth designed to improve outcomes for indigenous students. The project will focus on education and youth issues and will be based on community consultation.

The government is undertaking an in-depth review of education of Canberra's indigenous students. The Indigenous Education Consultative Body and the ACT Department of Education, Youth and Family Services are conducting the review of indigenous education in ACT government schools. The Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University in Melbourne has been engaged to conduct the review. Professor Colin Bourke will be heading the review team.

This is an important review that will guide further developments in indigenous education in the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services. What is learned from this review will guide planning and help the government to provide programs that effectively target problems being experienced by some indigenous students in our schools.

The review team has met with a variety of stakeholders. They include departmental officers, students, teachers, principals, parents and members of the Aboriginal student support parental awareness committees. Professor Bourke is now writing the report.

It is a stated goal of the Stanhope government to be inclusive of all Canberrans and to give all our children every chance to realise their potential. Late last year my department distributed to schools a discussion paper for school communities, entitled The Inclusivity Challenge-Within Reach of Us All.

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