Page 3040 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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The better schools reform represents a paradigm shift in thinking on schools funding. It is a reform that goes beyond past debates on school funding, puts many old arguments to bed and establishes a system which provides equitable funding to every school based on need. It is a reform that goes beyond the simple question of how much, and goes to how to equitably allocate that funding and teacher quality.

In the ACT these reforms mean that funding to all ACT schools will increase from $690 million in this year to $880 million in 2019. Public schools will receive an extra $100 million, with the Catholic system receiving an additional $60 million and independent schools $30 million. This reform will benefit the almost 70,000 students across the ACT from next year and many thousands in the years to come.

It is an exciting time for education. These reforms are significant and will build on this government’s past achievements in providing the children of the ACT with a high quality education.

I would like to speak on women and women’s inclusiveness in our society. Women’s financial empowerment and understanding, promoting women in non-traditional trades and addressing violence against women are still priority areas for this government. The ACT prevention of violence against women and children strategy makes it very clear that addressing violence against women is a whole-of-community responsibility. The ACT government, through the Office for Women, continues to support a number of community initiatives which further the objectives of the strategy.

Earlier this year I announced that three ACT women’s organisations had received funding through our inaugural Audrey Fagan violence prevention grants. On International Women’s Day this year I announced the inaugural ACT violence against women prevention awards. These awards will highlight the work being done in our community to prevent violence against women and to support those who are experiencing violence.

Compared to men, women are less financially secure in their retirement and are less confident in planning for their financial future. The ACT government has provided funding to key local community organisations to roll out women’s financial literacy programs and to develop comprehensive, long-term and accessible financial information for women.

I spoke yesterday about our work to support women in non-traditional trades. Attracting more women into building and construction and trades will open up employment pathways for women who have a passion for this particular industry and will demonstrate that women and girls are just as capable as their male colleagues in the area.

I am extremely proud of this government’s commitment to DisabilityCare in the ACT. The ACT government, in partnership with the commonwealth, has agreed to the phased launch of DisabilityCare in the ACT, which progresses from July next year to a full scheme by 2016.

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