Page 77 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Burch, have you finished answering the question?

MS BURCH: I have answered the question.

MADAM SPEAKER: Okay. Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, can you guarantee that not one parent in the ACT will pay higher fees as a result of this policy? An answer would be nice.

MS BURCH: Madam Speaker, I do not think it has ever been in the purview of the minister for education to set fees for non-government schools. I do not think it has been and I do not intend to introduce it.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, would it not be premature to implement this type of reform away from a nationally consistent framework and without knowing the financial implications on all ACT schools from the commonwealth’s changes?

MS BURCH: Andrew, across the chamber—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Wall, please.

MS BURCH: Sorry. Mr Wall, you were asking whether it would be premature to implement this before the federal changes. If that is the essence of your question, I would have to agree with you. That is why this says if it is not progressed at a federal level, we will look to support schools based on need locally.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, should ACT parents draw comfort from the PM’s guarantee of August this year that all public and private schools will receive more funding under the Gonski plan?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his question, and I do draw comfort from the Prime Minister who has said that, regardless of the school, whether it is government or non-government, there will be additional resources on the table to provide support to those students and those schools in need. Whilst there is much mirth from those opposite, I do not think anyone in this chamber will say that we should not make sure that we provide the support needed to any student in any school in any sector.

It is the Prime Minister and it is the federal Labor government that have put these reforms on the table with a commitment to do that. As I understand it, legislation will be tabled in Parliament House in the House of Reps this week to ensure that that progresses.

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