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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4397 ..

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.50), in reply: I rise to conclude. I thank members for their comments. It is probably one of the first times that I have agreed with everything everybody has said in this chamber during this discussion.

Some of what Ms Tucker said in her comments about the compact, which was a bit before my time, has not been raised with me as a problem from the indigenous community. But I accept what Ms Tucker says, and I will take the time to go back and look at what we are trying to do with the compact and see how we can make it either a better process or a more educated process. I certainly give you that undertaking.

I agree completely with the points raised about alternative education settings: there is currently a gap there. We provide some excellent services, as Ms Tucker said, like the Eclipse program and some very targeted individual assistance within schools, which works for some students. But I also have concerns in this area-for example, about whether the adolescent day program is as inclusive as it should be. It seems to be quite an isolated way of dealing with the students who may not be fitting in at their schools. I have had lengthy discussions with the department about this, which I am not in a position to make any statement about now, but it is very firmly in my mind. I believe we need to support these students in an inclusive way, providing them with alternatives.

I am very impressed with some of the non-government providers-Galilee and also a program done by Youth in the City, which is achieving some very good outcomes. There are issues there about those students getting qualifications, as it is a much more voluntary approach. But it does keep students coming, when they might otherwise have dropped out of schooling. I have visited the service, and it looks like they are going from strength to strength in terms of the outcomes they are achieving for students. I guess there will be more on that to come.

Ms Dundas made some comments about the cost of providing support for the add-ons of education, and that is something I am looking at. In the last budget we had an increase in the School Equity funding, and we are looking at the way to best allocate that funding to the schools, perhaps using some to provide support for students who do not have the cash available to attend excursions or buy equipment. At the moment, school equity funding is delivered in a way that gives the schools a bit of extra money to provide things within the school, but it is not necessarily targeted at any individuals.

Mr Pratt, I agree with you completely that it needs to be more than a salesman's report and that we need to be extremely honest about what is happening for indigenous students. I will look at the comments you made about the information you would like to see included. The origins of the report were a motion by Mr Berry-and supported unanimously by the Assembly, albeit with amendments from the other side-for us to recognise that indigenous students are not achieving the same outcomes as non-indigenous students and to look at why.

In the past couple of months I have visited a couple of schools that have a higher than average level of indigenous students for a government school. I have been very impressed with what they are doing on an individual level to deliver outcomes for

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