Page 3348 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Burke, Mrs Dunne, Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald, Ms Porter, Mr Pratt, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth, proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms MacDonald be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of building a better future for our children through investment in quality education.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (3.18): There is nothing more important that a government can do for young families than to ensure that the community’s children have access to world-class public education. That is why the Stanhope government has increased expenditure in education by more than 40 per cent since being elected in 2001. That is why we are investing $350 million in critical infrastructure that our public schools need to ensure that they can offer 21st century learning environments.

The Stanhope government is committed to ensuring the best future for our children and to making every education dollar count towards improving our students’ educational outcomes. This government continues to produce forward-thinking policies in areas of high-quality curriculum, quality teaching, early childhood education, information and communication technology in schools, standards in education, languages education, revitalising physical education and school sport, and initiatives in Indigenous education, pastoral care and languages.

We are backing those policies with record levels of government investment. For example, we are investing over $27 million to ensure that our public education system has state-of-the-art information and communication technology, over $14 million to provide a pastoral care and student welfare coordinator in every ACT public high school, $3.3 million to improve outcomes for Indigenous students in our education system, and more than $1.2 million to revitalise physical education in our schools.

In 2007, this government released the new ACT curriculum framework—an exciting and historic development in ACT school education. The new framework ensures that we are providing the very best teaching and learning for our students. The framework lays the foundation for schools to continue to develop a rigorous and contemporary curriculum that prepares students well for life in the 21st century. The exercise of teachers’ professional judgement is at the heart and soul of the teaching and learning process. It is therefore of no surprise that this curriculum framework recognises that quality teaching is the key to student enjoyment. That is what parents want—the best teachers in their children’s classrooms, who are skilled, trained and supported to ensure that their child achieves to their maximum potential.

The Stanhope government is making a considerable and sustained investment in improving the capacity of all our teachers—our early childhood teachers, teachers in primary schools and our high school and college teachers, as well as our school leaders. The 2008-09 budget provided over $2.3 million to provide additional

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