Page 2147 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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nights and 2013 public education awards and musical performances by students in the city centre. I will be fortunate to be able to attend a number of the events during the week. I will be attending the school leadership conference and presenting awards for long service on 24 May. I will also be attending the public education awards dinner and awards ceremony.

I also recently attended the Australian Education Union’s art exhibition celebrating public education. The exhibition will run until 31 May and showcases some of the amazing artistic talent of our students. I would urge all members of the Assembly to go across to Civic Library to see the exhibitions of paintings, drawings and other artworks in both 2D and 3D formats. Indeed, they are on exhibition across all the Canberra libraries until 31 May.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, what recent commitments has the ACT government made to support ACT public schools?

MS BURCH: The ACT government is committed to continuing the development of our ACT public education system as a high-quality choice for our parents and children. The ACT is already recognised for the priority it gives to funding public education. The latest Productivity Commission report on government services shows that the ACT provides around 12 per cent more than the Australian average on education.

Indeed, since being elected, this government has increased recurrent funding for public school education by more than $180 million over the 11 years. This translates to a funding increase of around 67 per cent per student. In 2012-13, the government allocated capital funding of $122 million to our public schools. As the Chief Minister has told the Assembly, we are committed to negotiating a good result for the ACT and for the country on the needs-based funding reform.

We have also made a commitment to improve teacher quality and this is evident in initiatives such as executive teacher (professional practice). These new promotional positions focus on exemplary classroom teaching and capacity building in teaching practice. Twenty-one positions will commence this year, with additional positions next year.

Our great public school system here in the ACT is based on good investment in our schools and the teachers. I would like to put on record my thanks and appreciation for our school principals and teachers who are dedicated to encouraging and educating our children and ensuring access to a positive learning experience.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how does the government engage with the public education sector concerning their needs and priorities?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest. As minister, I have made a clear commitment to engage with all of the education stakeholders, government and non-

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