Page 853 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

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in 2006 and compares it to the level of investment and resources that are now available to schools as a result of that difficult change process need only look at the reallocation of resources and the ability the government now has to strengthen investment in all those areas as well as providing direct financial assistance to affected families. Some $750 was provided to each student affected by a closure to address the one-off costs associated with moving to a new school, such as the purchase of new school uniforms and a range of other things that might be associated with changing schools. The government provided that direct financial assistance to students affected.

The benefits for the education system as a whole are clear, because the resources that are available are now better able to be shared equally around the school system and better able to be targeted to areas of need, because we are not spending money heating and cooling empty school buildings, and we are not spending money subsidising well-off communities to the tune of twice as much as the average student in some instances simply for the reason that the school was small. That is an important—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR BARR: Resources were not being allocated according to socioeconomic need; they were being allocated according to the size of the school. Anyone who believes that that is fair, Mr Speaker, and that that addresses disadvantage in our school system is kidding themselves.

Mrs Burke: So you’ve pushed autistic children to Rivett.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Burke, I warn you.

MR BARR: It is important that the opportunities that are available across our public education system are there for all and that it is the highest possible quality. I do not think anyone could say that the situation we were in prior to the changes we undertook in 2006 were fair and equitable across our system. Yes, that means making difficult decisions, but they were made to invest in the quality of our education system overall.

That, Mr Speaker, is the goal that must guide governments into the future—quality in education and investment in our teachers, but also in the quality of the teaching facilities, the classrooms, the infrastructure that they teach in. It is very difficult to attract quality teachers into an education system if the teaching and learning environment is second rate.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Attorney-General. Can the Attorney-General advise the Assembly what steps the government is taking to ensure that the legislation governing the regulation of alcohol remains consistent with community standards and expectations, particularly in relation to the important issue of binge drinking and that of antisocial behaviour by intoxicated persons?

Mr Stefaniak: In the latter part, they’re not doing very well at all, Mary!

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