Page 4626 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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These reforms are challenging. I know there are many good people in the education sector who have concerns, but I believe more and better information is good for schools, good for students, good for parents and good for families. If we are not in a position to share that rich data with school communities and the broader community, I am not sure how we are going to make the significant gains that we want to make in addressing achievement gaps.

I do note Ms Hunter’s comments on the importance of that particular inquiry and I have said in this place more than once that that is the forward agenda we should be focusing on—not looking to the past, not focusing on political stunts. We should be looking at the difference we can make and we have an obligation to every student in every ACT school to look at their needs, to allocate resources fairly and effectively across our education system to ensure that additional resources are going to those in most need. Our allocation of education resources should not be made on the basis of a particular school that a student attends; it should be around the needs that that child has, most particularly when it comes to the allocation of resources within the public system.

We do always acknowledge the contribution that parents make in the non-government system by way of fees, and that does represent a significant contribution to the costs of running a private education system. Nevertheless, the primary responsibility of the territory government is towards the running of the public education system. We have a contributing role in the running of non-government schools but we are the minority funding provider in that context.

In the remaining 40 seconds it is worth acknowledging that, as we move forward, there will be further meetings of the education ministerial council in the months ahead to address some of the final issues around the transparency and accountability agenda. Those issues that remain outstanding will be resolved at meetings over the next few months and by the end of this year we will have completed a significant body of work that will fundamentally alter for the better how education is delivered both in the ACT and in Australia. I thank you again, Madam Deputy Speaker, for raising this important matter today.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for the discussion has concluded.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day, Assembly business, relating to the proposed establishment of a Select Committee on Canberra’s Major Water Security Projects, being called on forthwith.

Water security—proposed select committee

Debate resumed.

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