Page 2255 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (11.05): I thank Ms Berry for bringing this motion on today. I would like to add my support to the motion. This is a budget which lays the foundation for works that will deliver a positive transformation to this city. It is a budget that really does seek to deliver high quality services and greater opportunities to all Canberrans while returning the budget to a surplus in a measured and responsible way.

This is in marked contrast to other jurisdictions that have simply taken an axe, and a blunt one at that, to vital community and education services. I have no doubt that such an approach will have a long-lasting and negative effect on those communities long into the future. This is an approach that is not the Labor way and, indeed, it cannot be the path taken by any responsible government that is committed to looking after its most vulnerable and ensuring the ongoing prosperity of the community. The Labor approach, as demonstrated in this budget, is an approach which is a moderate and measured approach which continues to invest in vital infrastructure and services and continues to provide opportunity to future generations of Canberrans.

There can be no conversation about future opportunities, economic prosperity and transformation without a discussion on education. I know, and this government knows, the power of education to change lives for the better. It is the silver bullet that delivers change not only to the individual but to society. Report after report highlights the power of education to create happier, healthier and more prosperous people and communities. As a Labor government, a government that is about supporting our most vulnerable and delivering quality services for all, I am very proud to say that this is a budget that will deliver on the promise of a high quality education to all Canberrans regardless of their location, their school or their background.

The budget includes delivery of many of our election commitments, including the canteen grants, support for students with disabilities, degree scholarships for early childhood educators, support for non-government school students, new buildings for the Canberra College cares program, a Tuggeranong introductory English centre, Coombs primary school design, and stage 1 of the modernisation of Belconnen high—which, Madam Deputy Speaker, I have no doubt that you have a strong interest in.

It is this budget that delivers on the national education reform agreement. It was a great day to witness the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister sign on to a commitment that will deliver $190 million of additional funding to ACT schools over six years. This budget will deliver on that agreement. It will provide funding certainty to all ACT schools regardless of system and ensure funding is given equitably to support schools and students to achieve their best.

This agreement commits the ACT government to over $34 million over four years in new funding to transition to this agreement. The education reform agreement represents a paradigm shift in the funding of education and will put in the past the arguments about funding equity. As the Chief Minister has said, it puts to bed the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video