Page 848 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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It is very easy for those opposite to sit back and ridicule the government for closing schools, which they frequently do. But it is the Stanhope government that has had the courage to make the tough decisions and the vision to provide record investment to ensure that the ACT education system remains the best in the country and meets the emerging needs of students of the 21st century.

Since 2001, the Stanhope government has established Canberra as the leading education jurisdiction. The contrast in today’s debate is that, while the Liberal Party will always seek to score the easy political points by sniping from the sidelines, the Stanhope government is committed to the education of Canberrans and has invested the resources that it has needed since 2001 to back up this commitment. I am pleased to support Mr Barr’s amendment.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.25 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Vocational education and training

MR SESELJA: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, the most recent National Centre for Vocational Education Research figures show that there have been 900 fewer people commencing apprentices and traineeships in the ACT between September 2006 and September 2007. The AEU, in its response to the ACT Skills Commission Interim Report 2007, said:

There is no question that the 2006-07 ACT Budget, based on an incompetent Treasury analysis of the ACT economy and Government finances, has exacerbated the skills shortage in the ACT.

Minister, why have you chosen to exacerbate the skills shortage in the ACT?

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker—

Mr Hargreaves: It’s the new climate-change denialists!

Ms Porter: That’s a silly question.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, why has your government reduced funding for skills training at a time of serious skills shortages?

MR BARR: The government hasn’t, Mr Speaker.


MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, today in the Assembly Ms Gallagher apologised for not correcting the record in 2004 about the

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