Page 2786 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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across our curriculum and are being built into the work that teachers do and into what our children learn from their earliest engagement in the schooling system.

Importantly too, another nation-leading initiative of this government under Minister Burch is parental engagement. This, I know, has received coverage in a number of ways but it is more than movie nights at schools, as important as they are. What this recognises is the inherently important role that education plays in the lives of our children and the lives of our community, how parents need to work with their children and be engaged in their schooling. As more parents work, as more families juggle more responsibilities inside the home and outside the home, parental engagement becomes a diverse and important initiative and is something that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to.

But what this government is doing is leading the way on finding the best possible opportunities for parents to engage in their children’s learning. So I am pleased today to speak in support of this important education line and I commend the government for its commitments in education.

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) (7.59): It gives me great pleasure to stand tonight as minister for education and once again announce and highlight a strong education budget in this budget and our commitment to education in this community.

We are a government committed to delivering great things for this city and its residents. Part of that is laying a great foundation for our community by providing the best education to Canberrans that we can, from early childhood and preschool all the way through to vocational education, skills and degrees. That is why we have such a strong record of investment in education across the territory. This investment confirms our commitment to the national education reform and the priority we place on education in Canberra. This budget delivers on that commitment, targeting investment to provide the best possible education for every child, regardless of their ability, background or the challenges they face.

This budget provides over $160 million for better classrooms and state-of-the-art, innovative facilities. The government is committed to meeting the individual needs of all students and has provided additional resources to support students with a disability to access and participate in education. This year’s budget provides an additional $3 million for additional support for students with complex learning needs in ACT public schools. A further $925,000 is allocated to support the transport of students with a disability to and from ACT public schools.

We know that the quality of learning environments has a big impact on how, and how well, students learn. The way students and teachers are able to interact with their spaces is a key driver in the learning process. To make sure we have classrooms and schools of the future, this budget invests over $31 million to enable design and construction of a new preschool to year 6 in the north Gungahlin suburb of Taylor. We will also undertake preliminary design and feasibility study work to determine the

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