Page 1555 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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MS BERRY: I think I have identified the number of conversations I have already been having with independent schools and the Catholic Education Office. The forum that was held earlier this week at St Clare’s was very well represented by the Labor Party with the federal opposition leader, the federal deputy leader and two ACT representatives of the federal Labor Party there.

Mr Coe: Where were you?

MS BERRY: I am speaking with the Catholic Education Office this afternoon. This is trying to score cheap political points over something that is a very serious issue, something that has been implemented by the federal Liberal Party. I think everybody just needs to keep a cool head on this. This is not a time for different parts of the education community or for the Liberal Party in the ACT to start pitting systems against each other when we are very clearly on the same path here about what is going on with the federal Liberal Party’s announcements around education funding.

It is very low on detail; we do not know what the reforms are that will be connected to that. There is no commitment for a national partnership on universal access. That is worth $70 million over 10 years in the ACT. So whatever funding increase or adjustment that makes any kind of difference to public schools or Catholic schools or independent schools will be completely wiped out and will mean nothing if the reforms that come with that are not discussed and are not discussed in a way that meets the needs of our community.

MR COE: Minister, have you expressed concern or requested a better deal for non-government schools in communication with the commonwealth government?

MS BERRY: What I have asked the federal minister for education, Simon Birmingham, to discuss with the ACT is the detail. The devil is always in the detail with all of these announcements and there has just been very little detail, as I said: a 10-minute conversation; no mention of any announcement that was to come after that; a national partnership agreement that expires in a year’s time; no talk of what the reforms are that are connected with that funding model. So all of those things I have raised on behalf of all schools in the ACT with the federal minister.

Federal government—budget

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, last night the federal Liberal government handed down the commonwealth budget and for the first time in four years the territory has been ignored instead of attacked. What does the latest Liberal budget mean for Canberrans’ jobs and our economy?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. It is particularly timely, immediately following the question from Mr Wall in relation to education funding. It is very clear that the ACT was overlooked in last night’s federal budget. That will come as small comfort to Canberrans who are perhaps getting used to being attacked by the federal Liberal government. But Canberrans have every right to feel short-changed by this budget.

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