Page 203 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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Indigenous education

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.26): I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly of 24 May 2000, regarding half-yearly reports on the performance of indigenous education be amended by inserting the following new paragraphs:

“(3) for the calendar year 2005, one report to be issued; and

(4) from 1 January 2006, reports are to be issued six monthly, based on January to June and July to December each year.”.

This motion seeks to bring indigenous education reporting in line with the academic year. As a consequence of a motion put before the Assembly by you, Mr Speaker, on 24 May 2000, the former Liberal government made a commitment to report to the Legislative Assembly every six months on the performance of the government in relation to indigenous education in ACT government schools.

To date 10 reports have been presented to the Assembly. Currently, the reporting period are September through February and March through August. This schedule presents several difficulties, largely because it is not consistent with the calendar year. It also does not align with system student testing reporting periods such as ACTAP results.

This motion proposes to change the reporting periods to reflect the full school year, with the midyear January to June progress report to be provided to the Assembly, followed by an end of year report that will incorporate a fuller account of outcomes for the school year. To implement this new arrangement the next report to the Assembly will reflect the outcomes for indigenous students for the 2005 school year and cover the period January to December 2005.

I understand that my colleague Ms Gallagher and her office have been engaged in discussions with opposition and crossbench members, and I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.28): Upon looking at this, initially I was a bit perturbed that perhaps it was an attempt by the government to escape scrutiny. But, as the minister has said, Ms Gallagher has spoken to my office this morning and explained the changes. I have some concerns that there will be only one report for the year 2005. But, if it is an attempt to look at school students in their particular year for the full year, that is acceptable.

The changes of the dates from September to February and March to August would seem to be sensible. Having the first two months of the year in the report from the last year does not seem to make a great deal of sense. Perhaps that was because of the timing of the motion and it was a direction from the Assembly. But, following the explanation and discussions with the minister’s office, the opposition will be supporting the motion.

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