Page 1883 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 June 2015

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real passion for particular issues, issues of the day, to provide the minister with clear advice. In creating this greater flexibility there is a real opportunity for the minister to really tap into the vast world of expertise that exists in our community in a way that is more flexible than the current model and that enables both the minister and the directorate to get very clear views and input, and a level of expertise, from the community.

On that basis, I will be supporting the bill today on behalf of the ACT Greens.

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) (10.39), in reply: In closing the debate on the Education Amendment Bill, I want to thank Mr Rattenbury for his comments. I agree that it is important to continue to facilitate and give opportunities for broader community input to and discussion of matters of education across the ACT.

This bill makes amendments and introduces a new chapter to the Education Act 2004. The bill gives the minister for education the power to establish advisory bodies as necessary to advise on education matters. I tabled the bill in the Assembly on 14 May, noting that it would establish revised school education advisory arrangements to ensure the provision of strategic advice on school education.

Every minister seeks out fair and balanced expert advice. To impact decision-making, this advice needs to be timely and specific to the issues involved. I can assure those in the Assembly that I will continue to meet with all groups and stakeholders that seek to have conversations with me about things that are important to them.

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MS BURCH: Mr Doszpot continues to interrupt. I am glad he paid attention to Hansard. While Mr Doszpot was happy to come in here and offer snide remarks about officials and their contribution to tabling statements and other documents, I will not follow that trend of being disrespectful. It was Mr Doszpot who offered those very snide remarks. I think he said that there must be some official very proud of this language, but he did not say it in a positive way; he did not say it in a complimentary way; he said it in a disrespectful and a snide way. I will not follow suit, as I have the highest regard and respect for the officials, including for the support they offer me and for any contribution they make to the debate in this place.

The ACT is leading the nation in educational outcomes. Our challenge is to further improve our students’ educational experiences and wellbeing. To do this, we need high quality expert advice from multiple sources. These should be theme focused and on issues relevant to modern education. I also want to reduce red tape and create the flexibility and adaptability that allow the best possible advice on emerging issues to decision-makers.

This bill gives the minister for education general powers to establish advisory bodies as necessary to achieve these goals. The minister can determine the terms of reference and the role of any advisory body to advise on matters relating to school education.

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