Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 I come now to the components of the Territory budget that pertain to my portfolio responsibilities. The budget overall will enable the government to continue to deliver to Territorians the best school and post-school education in the country. The combined 1995-96 allocation for the Department of Education and post-school colleges is $285m. After allowing for those one-off costs that I spoke about earlier-the capital works programs undertaken last year and not needed this year - the cut in Commonwealth programs and the transfer of the functions of the Open College across to NTETA - that in itself is $3.8m and is contained in the budget papers - we have an effective increase in the schools budget of 3.3%. I do not know where he found his $3.5m cut. However, even superficially, the $2.8m reduction this year is explained away instantly by the $3.8m transferred from NTOC across to NTETA. The CLP government spends $6678 per student in our government schools. That is the highest of all states and territories - 50% above the national average and almost 50% above the highest-spending state. Per capita grants to non-government schools are also the highest in the country, at $921 per primary student and $1403 per secondary student. Those high levels of funding allow a most generous staffing formula. The Northern Territory enjoys the best student-teacher ratio in the country, with a teacher for every 14.1 students. The budget for the Department of Education provides for initiatives which will cost $5mover the next 3 years, with $1.5m extra this year. In the Alice Springs and Barkly regions, additional support will be provided to students with special education needs, at an estimated cost of $187 000. We heard not a peep from the member for Barkly on that. This initiative will provide an additional teacher and a special aide in Alice Springs, with 2 additional itinerant teachers to service remote schools such as Alekerenge, Harts Range and Elliott. $80 000 has been allocated to establish the First Steps program. This is an innovative literacy development program for teachers of preschool to Year 7 students. The program trains and supports school-based tutors in the implementation of NT curriculum in identifying childrens specific literacy needs. A Student Behavioural Management Centre is to be established in the Katherine region, with an allocation of $ 102 000 next year, and that will provide for a senior teacher and school assistant. The successful Parents as Teachers program is to be expanded to regional centres including outreach to Aboriginal communities. Additional funding of $185 000 and 3 additional staff are to be provided in 1995-96, with additional staff proposed for the following 2 years. In the Alice Springs region, $23 000 is to be provided for a therapists aide to assist with exercising regimes in special units and Acacia Hills School. We heard the member for Nhulunbuy carrying on about therapists at Nhulunbuy the other day. While he was on his feet yapping about it, 2 therapists were visiting Nhulunbuy. A full therapist position cannot be justified there, but 2 were there on the day that he was whingeing in this Chamber. Mr Stirling interjecting. Mr FINCH: Do your homework. $96 000 is to be provided for the implementation of the Addressing Violence in Schools program. That program involves a series of components which are aimed at the prevention of violence in schools and the community, especially violence directed particularly and pertinently 3508