Page 1701 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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Again, does it require more teachers, in this case science teachers? What additional training will be required to equip current primary school teachers?

Where do we find the additional teachers we will need for schools to all offer an Asian language? We have a very strong network of community language skills in the ACT. Where will their work fit into this new requirement? And how will we fund all this additional work?

Labor first pitch government against non-government schools. Then they move to ensure it is state against state in a scramble for funds. And now we have primary and secondary education against tertiary education and a whole heap of additional requirements that must be met. There has been little in the media about where the ACT government is at, other than the Chief Minister acknowledging on talkback radio that it is very complex and that there will be virtually no extra funding for ACT schools. We have no doubt that it is complex for the Chief Minister, both philosophically and financially, but what does “virtually nothing” mean?

A new funding model has been promised by federal Labor for six years and has been supported by ACT Labor for probably as long, and no-one yet knows what it will mean for our schools and the ACT education system and what, indeed, it will mean if there is no extra funding but increased obligations to reform. ACT schools and ACT families deserve to know, because in seven months time existing funding arrangements will expire and as at today we have nothing in place.

We have had three education ministers since the Gonski review began. We have repeatedly been urged to embrace the essence of Gonski, but what is it we are embracing? And does this government understand what it is? Gonski said it was a student-centred philosophy. The Chief Minister made it clear yesterday it was a sector-based divide.

This motion asks the Chief Minister to tell us what she means, to tell us and all Canberra families what she is doing and what we face financially. We need to be assured that the ACT will not be disadvantaged for providing more than the national average in funding for government schools, and our non-government schools need to be assured they will not continue to fall behind the rest of Australia in financial support from this government. (Time expired.)

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (11.44): I thank Mr Doszpot for moving this motion. The government will not be supporting the opposition’s motion without amendments which have been circulated to members. There are three of them, circulated in my name. I seek leave to move those amendments together.

Leave granted.


(1) Omit subparagraph (1)(b), substitute:

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