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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5217

Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (16:33): I think the member for Canberra for her question—

Mr Tudge interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): The minister has not had anything to say, so there is no point of order.

Mr Tudge: It is a point of order in relation to the question. The question was asked about coalition policy when the minister is the minister of the government's policy. If the question were asked of the government's policy that would be in order, but how could a question about the coalition's policy be in order?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes. The member for Aston makes a point of order. I call the minister, but he must be relevant to his portfolio.

Mr GARRETT: I can assure you I will be relevant to the portfolio. I thank the member very much for that question. I know she has a very strong commitment to education and she was extremely supportive when the ACT government agreed with the Commonwealth for a new needs-based funding model to be delivered to students here in the ACT. Her question to me was what would the implications be, given the budgetary commitment that we have made, if there were to be a continuation of the current broken funding model under a coalition government? The answer is that, over the next six years, the ACT would lose a total of around $40 million for government schools and $60 million for non-government schools. That is $100 million that you would not see going to educate students in the ACT. And I congratulate the school systems, plural, in the ACT, government and non-government. It is a high-performing territory. There is no question that principals and teachers here are doing a great job, but they need that support.

So those would be the consequences if we were not able to secure the agreement of other states or if the coalition wanted to tear up this agreement between Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, for the ACT, and the Prime Minister. That shows in absolutely stark contrast the difference between this government and what is on offer over on the other side.

I should also take this opportunity, knowing that the member for Canberra has a great interest in this, to identify some of the support for the implementation of the National Plan for School Improvement that was contained in the budget. Of course, there is the support for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—$19.2 million for further resources for the implementation of the national curriculum, because that is an important part of the National Plan for School Improvement. For the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, there is $14.3 million for more resources for teachers and principals. There is $7½ million over three years for Education Services Australia to deliver resources for teachers in relation to phase 3 of the curriculum, which is absolutely critical and crucial. There are additional investments as well, such as the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions. Importantly—and I can see Minister Macklin is here—there is the Indigenous education targeted assistance program, the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education and support for young Australians, particularly through the Youth Connections program. All of these things are a wrap; they are a wrap not only around the investment quantum itself and the commitment but also around what young people need and are entitled to to learn to the best of their ability wherever they are living, whether they are here in the ACT or further afield.

That is what lies in this budget. That is the commitment that this government has always had to making sure that all Australians get the best possible education and that no child is left behind. It is on those principles that this budget is grounded, and that is the commitment we have—to deliver a national plan for school improvement which will continue through the life of this parliament.

So I thank the member for Canberra very much for her question. As I said, I was very pleased to see that historic agreement between the ACT government and the Commonwealth to provide additional resources in her electorate and in the member for Fraser's electorate which I know will contribute greatly to the wellbeing and education prospects of young Canberrans.

Debate adjourned.

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Proposed expenditure, $2,389,033,000