Page 1900 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 5 May 2009

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However, as the Chief Minister just indicated in his answer to Ms Burch’s question, there are possibilities for the ACT to go further. We have a range of initiatives and commitments, most particularly contained within the Canberra plan and the Canberra social plan, around getting our year 12 retention rates up to 95 per cent by 2013. We are working towards those goals through a range of initiatives, most particularly around the CIT and the extra funding for the vocational college.

But another initiative of last year’s budget was the creation of an additional vocational careers advisory position within each of the ACT public secondary colleges to work with students, particularly around vocational education and training opportunities. There have been a number of commitments made in relation to joint partnerships between the ACT and the commonwealth government around things like trades training centres in schools, most particularly support for disadvantaged students as well, through the national partnerships that the ACT has been discussing with the commonwealth for some time.

Through those initiatives, we will be looking to direct additional resources into this important area, because the government recognises, as we indicated in our discussion paper last year on this matter, that it simply was not enough to make a legislative change in the Education Act. We recognised that commensurate with that change would be a need for additional resources and additional opportunities in education and training. It is important that, through previous budget measures, through the national partnership with the commonwealth and through some further measures, some of which have already been made public in relation to this year’s budget, the government is investing in this area. And we will continue to do so.

My view is that, given our very high school retention rates, particularly in the public sector, the bulk of the challenge in the ACT falls in training provision and the alternative education settings and in working with the non-government school sector, because, according to ABS data, the year 12 retention rate for public schools is at or above 100 per cent.

So public schools are attracting additional enrolments. Part of the reason for that figure is students coming from New South Wales to complete their studies in the ACT or moving from the non-government system—having completed year 10 in the non-government system, moving into the public system for year 11 and year 12. But public sector retention rates for year 12, according to the ABS, are at or above 100 per cent. It is in the non-government sector, where they are around the Australian average of 75 per cent, that we are going to need to focus some effort.

So the trades training centres and a range of other partnerships with training providers are where we are going to need to focus our attention, as well as on the creation of additional school-based apprenticeships through programs such as the breakthrough 500 target. We have been working diligently with local industry to increase the number of school-based apprenticeships that are on offer in the territory.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

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