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Transcript of doorstop interview: Port Macquarie, NSW: 25 August 2009: visit to Port Macquarie; Building the Education Revolution; league tables; university; Youth\nAllowance reforms.

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The Hon Julia Gillard MP 

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations 

Minister for Social Inclusion 

Deputy Prime Minister 

25 August, 2009  


ISSUES: Visit to Port Macquarie; Building the Education Revolution; league tables; University; Youth  Allowance reforms 

JOURNALIST: Julia, are you impressed with what you have seen Tacking Point, the students here and  the staff? 

JULIA GILLARD: I am very impressed. We have had a terrific time here. Obviously this is a school that is focused on these young people, on their learning, on making sure that they get the basics like reading and writing but that they get to develop right across the board. The musical program is obviously fantastic and it was great to be able to pop in and say hello to some young people who have been in Canberra so recently.

JOURNALIST: Now you have seen where some of the funds from the Building the Education Revolution money is going right here behind you, are you impressed with the projects and that the funding has trailed down to schools here on mid-north coast?

JULIA GILLARD: It’s really important to come to local schools and see what they’re doing through Building the Education Revolution. I know that this school is servicing a growth community, we have got more boys and girls coming through who want to be educated here so they need new facilities and that’s what Building the Education Revolution is all about, making sure that we are supporting jobs today in communities during the global recession while we are building the infrastructure that is going to matter so much for tomorrow. So I can imagine that the space behind me is going to be filled with new facilities, that the boys and girls I have met today will be able to use but so will the boys and girls of the future as they come here for their education.

JOURNALIST: I know a number of teachers are concerned with the publishing of league tables in the media. Does the Government have any priority to make sure they don’t get published in the media and league tables aren’t used to differentiate schools using the media to publicise them?

JULIA GILLARD: I’m not interested in league tables. What I’m interested in as Federal Education Minister, is getting more information out to the community and out to parents

about their local school. Parents want to know what’s happening in their local school and I think as a country we also want to be able to see where schools are doing tremendously well and celebrate and share that best practice but we also want to see which schools are falling behind and need an extra helping hand. As a Federal Government we are standing ready to help schools that need additional assistance. We have new programs to bring the best teachers to the classrooms that need them the most, new programs to bring new resources to schools that are falling behind so the information is important to drive that agenda about making sure every school’s a great school.

JOURNALIST: And is there an appropriate way to deliver it so that you don’t impact on the confidence of those students who are at the schools that are perhaps underperforming?

JULIA GILLARD: I think the best way of delivering it, and the way we want to deliver it, is to have it available on the internet, have it available with the characteristics of the student population and have it available so you’re comparing like schools, schools that serve similar student populations. We want the information to be comprehensive, we want parents and community members to know what’s happening in schools right across the board so we will be there with the information available for the first time at the start of next year and people will be able to see how their local school is going but also how it compares with similar schools around the country.

JOURNALIST: And finally, I know there is some push to get a university at some stage here, in an area like Port Macquarie, is that a realistic push for some time in the future?

JULIA GILLARD: What we have done with our university reforms is we have funded universities for growth. We have said we want more Australians to have university qualifications, that’s what the workforce of tomorrow is going to need and so we are funding universities to teach more students. And responding to that, I think universities right around the country will be looking to see which parts of the country actually have a demand and don’t have a university to service that demand. So the sector will be growing, our universities right around the country and I think that’s good news for communities like this one.

QUESTIONS: I understand you met yesterday, and I think Rob was there as well, for the round table discussion about the Youth Allowance, can you just fill me in on how it all went and what came out of that?

JULIA GILLARD: We had a great discussion yesterday with some young people who had come to Canberra with their local member and Rob was one of the local members there. The purpose of having the round table was to talk to young people about the Government’s Youth Allowance reforms and how it is impacting on them. And I think the general consensus from the meeting was, people understand that the government is trying to make a difference so that dollars go to the students who need them the most. Most people know of an example where Youth Allowance ended up going to a student from a very wealthy family who didn’t need it and they do know students who have missed out who needed it desperately. So a better targeted system had general support but there was a particular concern about the students on a gap year now who are caught up in the change from the old system to the new system. So I have listened to their concerns and obviously, Rob as your local member has raised it with me in the past, and we will be thinking about that and working through that.


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