Page 1777 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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Debate (on motion by Ms Lawder) adjourned to the next sitting.

Education Amendment Bill 2015

Ms Burch, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.51): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

School education has changed significantly, nationally and locally, in the past decade. The key driver underpinning this change has been a concerted national policy approach to education with less difference amongst our school sector and system lines. The community interest in and expectations of education policy and practice are rising. It is now widely accepted that education affects individual wellbeing, family dynamics and community cohesion, with positive impacts in the areas of health, crime, parenting, civic participation, social integration and cultural development. This recognition is leading governments to understand the value of receiving high quality advice on how to implement best practice education standards and seek community engagement and stakeholder feedback in strengthening connections across the education sectors, with linkages to business and to various community services.

The ACT government needs to meet these expectations through identifying best practice approaches to formulating education policy and advice. It is timely in this changed environment to revise the current ACT education ministerial advisory arrangements to ensure that they are best adapted to providing high level and strategic advice on school education.

I am introducing this bill today to enable new and different advisory arrangements for the minister responsible for education, arrangements which enable the minister to establish thematically focused, multisectoral, time-constrained forums which allow for input from a variety of government, private and not-for-profit stakeholders to provide up-to-the-minute advice on policy issues as they arise. In particular, the new arrangement would cut across the three school sectors of public schools, independent and Catholic schools, enhancing discussions in areas of common interest, demonstrating the ACT’s drive for a connected and a cohesive education system achieving high quality outcomes for all Canberrans. Cross-sectoral, theme-based advisory arrangements would also support the government’s agenda in streamlining services and operating in a one-service environment with the aim of making interaction and engagement with the government as simple and straightforward for the community as possible.

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