Page 1124 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 20 March 2013

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MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question. There are a number of further reforms in the community sector that we are working on. There are two in particular that I would like to update the Assembly on this afternoon. Last week I announced that the ACT government had appointed members to the inaugural Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Community Advisory Council. This council will be chaired by Heidi Yates, a respected and talented Canberran.

The council will have its first meeting early next month. I look forward to working with Heidi, with Peter Hyndal, who is the deputy chair, and the other 10 members of the council. It will be an important advisory body for government on the range of issues affecting the LGBTI community in the ACT.

I am also looking forward this Saturday to attending, along with I hope many colleagues from the Assembly, the opening of Diversity ACT Community Services. Last year the government announced financial and in-kind support to establish Diversity ACT. It has been very pleasing to see a committed group of people pull together to show that you can turn a vision into a reality that delivers for the community.

The government has a stated policy intention to make the ACT the most LGBTI friendly community in Australia and for Canberra to take its role as the national capital and the leading inclusive city in this country as far as lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex people are concerned. I think this is a very good opportunity to work in partnership with the community to deliver on an important, inclusive and, dare I say it, progressive outcome for this city.

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how will the community sector be assisting in the celebration of Harmony Day?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. There are significant opportunities for community involvement in Harmony Day. I am very pleased that multicultural communities are organising a sports day, for example. There are a number of ways that the community sector are getting involved, and it is terrific to see that there is such a strong level of engagement in what is an important day for the city. We certainly look forward to the opportunity to engage with a number of different communities, all pulling together to ensure that this is a progressive and inclusive city.

Education—NAPLAN testing

MR DOSZPOT: Madam Acting Speaker, my question is to the minister for education. Minister, you were quoted widely last week applauding the success of Canberra schools in the latest NAPLAN results. However, in all areas tested and in each year level, there are many schools at or below the national average. Minister, a third of all ACT schools are below the national average in reading at year 7. In numeracy as many as 47 per cent, and in spelling 58 per cent, of all schools in year 7 are below the national average. Minister, why is this is so?

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