Page 2423 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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On other aspects of the bill, there is the change to reflect the merging of the old Canberra Business Council with the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce. This is just another basic change to reflect changing circumstances. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.17): I will be supporting the bill that is before us today. The bill is designed simply to modernise the existing act, and is in line with a raft of minor bills and legislation tidy-ups that the government has been undertaking in recent months. Minister Burch noted the key amendments contained in the bill in her introductory remarks. Mr Doszpot has touched on those as well today. I am happy to support these changes, which I believe will increase consultation and engagement with the educational sector.

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) (11.18), in reply: I thank members for their contributions and support this morning. The work of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies is central to the future opportunities for our young adults and, in turn, the continued wellbeing of our community. I take this opportunity to thank the existing and previous members of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies for the work that they do for our community and for our education system.

This bill, when enacted, will contribute to the work done by the board to provide improved educational outcomes for young adults in the Canberra community. I want to emphasise to members the two main focuses of the bill: the bill strengthens the governance of the board and places the board’s relationship with overseas schools on a firm legislative foundation.

The Board of Senior Secondary Studies is a truly cross-sectoral board and ensures that all schools and all students are treated equally with regard to senior secondary education in terms of the provision of curriculum, assessment and certification. I am especially pleased to see the membership of the board increase from 14 to 15, with the inclusion of a member drawn from the Canberra campus of the Australian Catholic University. The ACU is a major destination for many of our ACT secondary graduates, and inclusion on the board will broaden the representation from the tertiary sector to four members, with the ACU member joining colleagues from the ANU, CIT and UC.

I also commend widening of the field from which a business representative on the board can be drawn. Input from the business sector provides the board with a valued lens when considering recommendations on curriculum, assessment and certification.

The bill improves the functionality of the board by providing for proxy voting when a member is absent. Given the nature of the people who are often selected to the board, it is sometimes not possible for them to attend all meetings. This amendment will enable the board to continue functioning and provide for all board members to have input into decisions.

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