Page 4051 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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The development assessment process is completely separate from the government’s considerations around cost. When the planning minister gets an application from any other developer or when the planning authority gets an application from any other developer, they do not care about the budget. They are just ensuring whether or not the development application meets the obligations of the Planning and Development Act. It is no different in this instance.


MS HUNTER: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, on 24 June 2009 the Assembly carried a motion which the ACT Greens put forward in relation to school league tables. Among other things, the motion called on you to advise the Assembly what action you would take with your state and federal colleagues to limit the publication of data based on national literacy and numeracy tests and attendance rates. Minister, can you update the Assembly on progress with this?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. Yes, I can advise the Assembly that the ministerial council—now renamed MCEECDYA and incorporating early childhood development—has met and will continue to meet in relation to the principles and protocols for the reporting on schooling in Australia. A teleconference was held last week and there will be a further meeting at the end of this month and then another one in November to finalise those principles and protocols.

Let me again state that simplistic league tables are not part of this government’s agenda, nor are they part of the Australian government’s agenda. However, it still remains my view that the league tables debate, both for them and against them, are a distraction from the real issues in education. What we need to ensure is that in reporting school results we protect students’ privacy, that we ensure that the reporting is in the broad public interest and that the data that is released is valid, reliable and detailed to enable accurate interpretation and understanding of the results.

In the context of media coverage in relation to the recent national assessment testing, it is important to note that there is an obligation on the Australian media to fairly and accurately report. Governments will not be creating league tables. That has been made very clear by the federal education minister and by me. Neither the ACT government nor the federal government will be party to the creation of simplistic league tables and they will only occur, as they can only occur now, if a media organisation goes and creates one of their own accord.

The information that is currently available through testing and that could be accessed through a freedom of information request under the existing arrangements could be used by a media organisation to develop a league table. It would be a league table of their making. They would have to justify how they went about developing such a table. In the context of this debate the question is: what actually constitutes a league table?

I think Ross Solly recently had an interview with Mr Cobbold, where he created a league table by suggesting that one particular school in Belconnen would perform better than another school. Now, the league table only comprised two schools, but

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