Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 - Wednesday 1 May 1991 aware that we produced the Towards the 90s discussion papers and put forward our views in national debate on issues ranging from teachers' wages to the comparability of courses across state boundaries. Today, as we prepare to make the necessary changes, the 1990s are upon us. In many ways, Australia is a very different place from what it was in the 1980s. In every change to education introduced as part of the estimates review process, the government considered community needs in the 1990s. In effect, the Territory government took stock of its schooling system. We compared our ambitions and our means and the result will put us on a firm footing as we move into the next century. If we accept that students deserve the best education that we can provide, the initiatives flowing from the estimates review process will go some way towards achieving our goal. Take the situation at Tennant Creek. Education resources at Tennant Creek are significant. Nevertheless, the amount of educational benefit to the local community is restricted by the disorganised structure within which schools and TAFE courses are presently located. The changes to be introduced at Tennant Creek, according to the recommendations of the ministerial task force, will produce significant new opportunities in education in Tennant Creek. I would have expected the member for Barkly to be supportive of what is being proposed because, in time, with the support of the Commonwealth, there will be an opportunity for the development of a Tennant Creek TAFE complex which will stand alone within its own grounds. Based on the Karguru Primary School buildings, the new TAFE facility will begin with links to the new Palmerston TAFE centre. In time, however, the attractive option will be for the development of a TAFE institution in its own right. This is not an option within the old structure, and I would have thought that the member for Barkly would join with other citizens of Tennant Creek in supporting what is proposed. Similar advantages apply in a more general way across the system. Again, I come back to a quote from Hugh Hudson: The fact that schools proposed to close have good educational programs does not mean that damage will occur to the education of the children when they move to a larger school. Indeed, many children will find the environment of a larger school more challenging, both within and out of the classroom, and will respond accordingly. Certainly, when very small schools are combined, there are usually significant benefits to the educational and social development of the children. And that has been accepted as a sound educational principle for some time. Earlier, I spoke of the savings in staffing and operational costs which flow automatically from the introduction of a system in which schools are fully utilised by students to replace one providing for the maintenance of a series of empty or often unused rooms. I come now to the capital savings which will also result as a matter of course. In the Territory, the closure of the 4 Band 3 schools alone will produce total savings of $4.4m over the next 5 years. In capital terms, savings in repairs and maintenance alone will be $331 000 at Traeger Park, $1.48m at Karguru, $899 000 at Tiwi and $1.2m at Rapid Creek. These are not insignificant amounts in difficult economic times, especially when Territory students will maintain their access to the magnificent new facilities which have been built at a cost of $42m since 1986. The government has not exactly been sitting on its hands. In his report, Hugh Hudson wrote: 784

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