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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2412 ..



because they are very critical years for the future of our students. These are the years in which they are starting to form the directions they will take in life.

Often courses in years 11 and 12 at college have their basis in the high school years. Those students who want to start on vocational education are often starting it in years 9 and 10. What we have is a dilemma, for which the government has no answer.

We will certainly keep an eye on what it is that happens there. We will be monitoring very closely the numbers to see what does happen with this movement out of the government system into the non-government sector. We will be looking for some leadership on this issue from the government, but I don't expect we will find any.


(Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (12.24 am): I rise just briefly to address some of the issues that have been raised during this debate. This budget has been a good one for education. I disagree with Mr Pratt that it lacks vision. This government does have a vision for children and young people in the ACT, and it's one which is providing an environment for children and young people which supports them to achieve their full potential. This budget has a range of initiatives which support that vision.

Importantly, the core business of the education budget is to teach. So I'm not sure whether vision needs to be displayed through initiatives. The fact is that the vision for education and the vision for our children are delivered by teachers, which take up the vast majority of the money allocated to the education budget. However, we did have some significant initiatives in this budget which will support the vision that we have for children and young people:

continuing on the class size reductions;

the career education initiatives to support young people transitioning through those years from high school to college, which will support both young people in the government and non-government sector;

the pre-school initiative;

the school excellence initiative, to continuously look at what our schools are doing, how they're doing it and reporting to parents;

the youth workers in schools; and-

very, very importantly-

the curriculum renewal.

It's through the curriculum that our children learn, and it's so important that we provide a curriculum that is up to date and engaging for these young people. I see that as one of the most critical initiatives in this year's budget. I think it is fair to say that, in previous years, cuts were made to the central office of the department of education and they lost a lot of their curriculum expertise from that department. As the years have gone by, we've realised that-and we've realised that in this budget-and made good on the commitment to ensure that our schools are providing the best possible curriculum that's up to date and supports the engagement of our young people.

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