Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2851 ..
Mr Speaker, through you, to the minister: what part does the pamphlet that was received by all households in south Canberra—and, no doubt, the equivalent in north Canberra—play in the government’s promotion of the early childhood schools?
MR BARR: I do thank Dr Foskey for the question and for her ongoing interest in public education matters. I do note—and it was somewhat disappointing that Dr Foskey’s party colleague felt the need to issue a media release attacking the public education system and the promotion thereof by this government—some suggestion made by the Greens party that, in effect, the promotion of public education was somehow Howardesque—adopting the tactics of the Howard government. I think we can all be fairly assured that, over the 11 years that the Howard government were in power, never once did they seek to promote public education. This government is committed to the promotion of public education in the ACT.
Dr Foskey is indeed correct. She did ask a series of questions during the estimates process in relation to the government’s plans to promote public education. I indicated at that time that the government would be, as we do every year, allocating a budget for the promotion of public education. From memory, that budget is in the order of $100,000 each year. Members would have seen—and I know that some have commented on it—an outstanding campaign that was run during public education week.
This particular information campaign, providing information to the public on the activities of public schools in each of the regions within this city, is another important step in the promotion of public education. Members would be aware—and those who have examined the particular material that Dr Foskey refers to—that there is a section within each of those promotional pamphlets that outlines the particular focus on early childhood education and talks of particular developments occurring at each of the schools that Dr Foskey mentioned.
In my letterbox, I got the north Canberra pamphlet. Accompanying that north Canberra pamphlet was a promotional flyer from North Ainslie primary school, welcoming prospective parents to a kindergarten information session for 2009 that is, in fact, taking place tomorrow evening. This is very good to see. We are seeing from individual schools, combined with a system-wide departmental effort, the promotion of public education.
I do note Dr Foskey’s particular interest in early childhood schools, and I am able to advise her that, in addition to the material that is available for each region of the city, we are embarking on a major campaign to promote these new schools that kick off in 2009. Dr Foskey can look forward to receiving some further information, as I understand she lives in an area close to one of the early childhood schools. We very much look forward to the promotion of these schools and the outstanding addition that they will make to public education in the ACT.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Foskey?
DR FOSKEY: What faith can the Lyons and Narrabundah communities have that their transformed local schools will gain the numbers as early childhood schools to convince this government that they should remain open?