Page 991 - Week 03 - Thursday, 23 March 2017

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We continue to support residential redevelopment. There are a number of projects already underway and in the pipeline in Woden to increase the residential population and there are a series of infrastructure investments, including the Phillip oval upgrade, including the bus interchange improvements and including opportunities to partner with the private sector. For example, the recent sale of a half share in the Westfield facility there will enable a new round of private sector investment in that facility.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—educational outcomes

MR WALL: My question is to the minister for education. In 2008 the Labor government signed up to seven COAG closing the gap indicators for Indigenous children. One of those was to halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy within a decade, namely, by 2018. The 2016 NAPLAN results show that, when comparing like with like—that is, comparing the ACT with major capital cities—we are significantly below our three nearest neighbours. Our Indigenous students are performing well below non-Indigenous students in the ACT education system across all year levels, and there is little evidence that the ACT is closing the gap. Minster, why has there been little to no progress in closing the gap across all NAPLAN indicators for ACT Indigenous students?

MS BERRY: What I can point to is the success of our Koori preschool program. It has been a great program that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their children the chance to engage in school during those most important years of their lives and setting them up for a great education as they go through the education system and on into their lives.

There is no doubt that there is more work to do in the ACT in supporting those families who might need a little bit more of a hand up than others, and particularly those in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is something that will be well considered and talked about often during the next 12 months during the future of education conversation about how we provide more equity within our education system, particularly for those students who are not doing as well as they could be.

MR WALL: Minister, what process did your directorate go through when selecting which Indigenous NAPLAN results to include and which to disregard when preparing the directorate’s annual report?

MS BERRY: I will take the question on notice.

MR MILLIGAN: Will the minister fully publish, as has happened in the past, a report documenting the progress of the ACT’s efforts in closing the gap?

MS BERRY: I will take the question on notice because I am not sure. I will have to check what other reports have been published. I do not think there would be a problem with that, but I will take the question on notice and find out from you, maybe offline, exactly what reporting you are talking about.

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