Page 1506 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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have committed additional funding to continue the consultation on the establishment of a school standards authority for the ACT. And that is why we have committed an extra $3.2 million over the next four years to improve the quality of non-government education in the ACT, particularly with programs targeted at assisting students with a disability in non-government schools but also to address equity issues within the non-government school system. The budget also continues the ACT government’s proud record of support for students with a disability in the public system and support for the enhancement of their education and their experiences.

Additionally, in a program that I know Ms Porter is very passionate about—it is something that she has had extensive involvement in—the government is providing an additional $802,000 for the continuation of the SPICE program through Volunteering ACT. Students in colleges and high schools will benefit from dedicated teachers to help with their transition from high school to college and with career advice. These teachers will also be responsible for reviewing and enhancing VET programs within our schools.

Another important area of investment is an additional $7.7 million for the further rollout of fibre-optic cabling. That will mean that all ACT public schools will have access to high-speed internet and state-of-the-art information and communication technology in the classroom. The ACT is setting the benchmark for the rest of the nation, and in many instances for the rest of the world. We have a world-class ICT network in the making for our ACT public education system, something that this government is very proud of—a significant investment in the future and the future of education in the ACT.

As part of our commitment to revitalising physical activity in our schools, there is a strategic investment in the Erindale leisure centre of $3 million, a very important investment for that part of Tuggeranong and for that college in particular. This is on top of the $250,000 seed funding for the Children’s Physical Activity Foundation, which will provide support for every primary school in the ACT to provide more physical education opportunities across the board—every school. Every primary school student in the ACT is being invited to be part of the minister’s physical activity challenge, an important practical step in getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day and an important practical step in this government’s commitment to revitalising physical education in our schools.

Olympic torch relay

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Chief Minister and is in regard to the Olympic torch relay event held in Canberra. We are all aware of evidence that the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China was involved in organising a red army of Chinese students who formed a moving barrier to shout down and block out any contrary views. Members who attended the event or listened to the ABC on the day or saw Stateline later in the week would be aware of the great hostility directed by that crowd at human rights and pro-Tibet protesters, with several incidents, including physical attacks and intimidation, leading police to advise protesters not to attend the final concert of the relay.

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