Page 2422 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Board of Senior Secondary Studies Amendment Bill 2015

Debate resumed from 7 May 2015, on motion by Ms Burch:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (11.14): It is not my intention to delay the Assembly unnecessarily by talking on each clause of this legislation. I believe the intent of this bill has been outlined well in the explanatory statement and also by the minister in her quite detailed tabling speech.

The bill before the Assembly essentially addresses some minor changes to better reflect current circumstances in the board’s make-up and activities and to ensure the Board of Senior Secondary Studies Act 1997 reflects those changes.

On the issue of expansion of the board, the bill includes a clause to increase the number of board members by the appointment of an additional member after consultation with the Australian Catholic University. It would seem appropriate that a representative of the Australian Catholic University is eligible for inclusion on the board. The ACU educates a significant number of students through their Bachelor of Education courses and takes an active interest in educational outcomes in the territory and beyond.

On the question of the changes to allow for proxy voting, again, such an inclusion reflects modern board practice. It also recognises that board members have other professional activities they need to attend to and it is not always possible for people to be in physical attendance. As the minister pointed out, this provision makes it easier and more efficient for the board to operate and is widely accepted practice in other areas of business and government. That said, I would hope that all the usual and appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure proxies are directed and vote at meetings according to the wishes of the board member, and that there are also limits in place as to how frequently a proxy can substitute for the full board member.

The provision that allows for additional overseas schools to be included if they meet certain criteria will be of benefit to the ACT. In an economy that has no major natural resources from which to draw revenue, provision of education services to the significant number of international students who come to Canberra is an important revenue stream. However, I am not sure that too many people know that education is also a major export for the ACT.

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