Page 3039 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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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) (5.08): I am so glad that those opposite have such mirth around a very substantial and very important motion brought forward by Dr Bourke today. I am very pleased to speak on this motion today. It allows me to highlight a number of the government’s priority areas—education, support for women and disability reform—each of which, as the motion states, ensure that we have an inclusive and fair society which creates opportunity for all members of our community.

Members interjecting—

MS BURCH: I note the mirth over there. Whilst it could be a matter of that side and this side, this is an opportunity for us to talk about education support and support for people with disability, which those opposite think is a laughing matter.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Doszpot): Ms Burch, resume your seat for a second. Stop the clock, please. Members, I would ask that a little bit of decorum come back into the place. You have had your fun. Let us listen to Ms Burch in quiet.

MS BURCH: Decorum, gentlemen.


MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. On education, I would like to thank Dr Bourke for acknowledging his strong commitment to ensuring that the ACT community remains one community with opportunity for all Canberrans. Creating a strong economy is important. However, it is not enough that government deliver a strong budget and a strong economy alone; they must also ensure that the economy delivers on the needs of the community.

Governments must ensure there is fairness and opportunity for all—for example, by delivering the best teachers and the best schools. Education is the silver bullet that can overcome entrenched disadvantage. Research continues to show that a well-educated person is not only more productive and employable but also healthier, happier and lives longer. This is something this government understands all too well and it is why, over the term of the Labor government in the ACT, we have made significant investments in our education system—into the buildings, into the technology and into the people.

This government provides 13 per cent more funding for education than the national average. We have increased our investment in public education over the past 12 years by 90 per cent and our investment into non-government schools has grown by 88 per cent. As a result we have a system that is one of, if not the, best-performing sectors across the country. This has not been achieved by accident, but from a concerted effort of this government to invest in those things that matter most.

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