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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3919 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Services. Minister, I note the number of policies in the education department regarding volunteers working in government schools, and that applicants for teaching positions in ACT government schools also go through a police character check. However, are university lecturers who are supervising trainee teachers in ACT schools screened for relevant criminal convictions before being allowed into ACT government schools?

MS GALLAGHER: I will have to take the question on notice, Mr Speaker.

MS DUNDAS: This supplementary question may also have to be taken on notice: does the department of education have policies in place to deal with instances where a person who has contact with schoolchildren has been charged with a sexual offence, but has not yet been convicted?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take that on notice, too.

Tertiary education-allocation of places

MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for education, Ms Gallagher. My question concerns the federal government's "Our universities: backing Australia's future"program, and specifically the allocation of 25,000 additional fully funded university places as well as an additional 4,250 new growth places from 2008.

It sought submissions from the states and territories on how these places should be allocated so the federal minister could make a decision by the end of the year. The minister sought submissions from the states and territories at the relevant ministerial council meeting in July. According to the federal department of education, training and youth affairs website, the ACT government has not, as yet, made a submission.

Minister, why have you failed to make a submission despite the fact that it should have been a high priority after the ministerial council meeting held several months ago?

MS GALLAGHER: My understanding of the discussions, which are ongoing, is that they are happening at departmental level. A further MCEETYA meeting is also scheduled for December, specifically to discuss the higher education reform package. That is where we will be having those discussions.

MRS BURKE: How do you explain your comprehensive failure to put forward a case for additional places for the ACT, and in a timely and expedient manner, when the tertiary education sector is so important for the ACT's future, both educationally and economically?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I will agree with the second part of the question. There has been no failure on this government's part at all in this area. We have been having discussions with the federal minister-

Mrs Burke: But we are one of only two states and territories that have not put in a submission. Why haven't we?

Mr Quinlan: Shut up!

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