Page 5170 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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change in the number of staff employed in ACT public schools to teach ESL students? How many are currently employed?

MR BARR: Yes, there has, and I refer Mr Coe to previous budget papers for the details. I understand from memory there are an additional 8.4 full-time equivalent positions.

MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, according to the February 2010 ESL census—

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Coe had a preamble to his last supplementary and now we are seeing another preamble. I would like to ask you to bring him to order. That is the second one.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, if you frame the question into a direct question, it would be helpful, thank you.

MR COE: Why is it that, according to the February 2010 ESL census, there were 4,158 students, or 12 per cent, meeting the ESL eligibility criteria but only 52 per cent of those students attract ESL funding?

MR BARR: Because ESL funding is allocated on a needs basis. There is an assessment of individuals according to a scale of English language proficiency and resources are allocated according to that scale.

Refugees and asylum seekers

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and concerns refugees and asylum seekers. Minister, recent federal events mean that Australia will return to onshore processing of asylum seekers and that there will be a greater use of bridging visas and community detention. Is the ACT government willing and prepared to accept an increased number of asylum seekers through the onshore processing system? What have you done to make this known to the federal government?

MS GALLAGHER: Perhaps I can answer that question under my portfolio as Chief Minister. I have written to the Prime Minister in the last month, in consultation with Minister Burch, talking about the success of the community detention program that has already been underway here in the ACT.

I encouraged the Prime Minister to think about additional ways the ACT government and the ACT community can work with the commonwealth government to provide more opportunities in Canberra for refugees and asylum seekers. I have not had a response to that letter yet, but it was only sent recently.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary.

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