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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 572

Ms RISHWORTH (10:23 AM) —On behalf of the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment, I wish to make a statement concerning the committee’s inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools. I rise to inform the House of the referral of an inquiry into the role and resourcing of school libraries and teacher librarians in promoting literacy in Australian schools.

The Standing Committee on Education and Training of the 42nd Parliament commenced an inquiry with the same terms of reference in March of last year. The former committee’s inquiry lapsed with the end of the last parliament in July. On 23 November 2010 the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth asked the Education and Employment Committee to take up the inquiry, and we have resolved to do so.

The committee has access to and will use the 380 submissions and other evidence gathered by the previous committee to develop its report and recommendations. We have also spoken with the chair and deputy chair of the former committee, officials from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and representatives of some national organisations representing libraries and teacher librarians.

Without pre-empting the findings and recommendations of this inquiry, the committee has been impressed with the level of passion and dedication that is manifest in the written and oral evidence presented to the inquiry. There is little doubt that a fully resourced and capable school library, when staffed by a fully qualified and active teacher librarian, makes a significant contribution to the learning outcomes in primary and secondary schools. The committee intends to present its report and recommendations before the end of the Autumn sittings.