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 should be placed on the public record of th Northern Territory. My central concern is that I do not believe that the consultation process between the government and the people of the Territory has been appropriate. I believe also that the quality of education of Territory kids has been hopelessly compromised. I believe that the minister has been conned by his department. The service providers, the teachers who provide the face-to-face services, and the kids who benefit from them, are the ones who are bearing the brunt of this exercise. In addition, I believe that the general distress caused to students and their parents has seriously compromised the quality of education available to them. In my view, the Minister for Education stands condemned for his inept, uncaring and essentially dishonest handling of cuts to the education budget. His ineptness is highlighted by his inability to trim the bloated bureaucracy which makes up the department's senior levels. The member for Wanguri raised this issue in question time yesterday and again today. The figures he presented, and the figures I presented in my question without notice, give a very clear indication of the situation in that regard. In the context of this debate, I place on record again the figures presented in the minister's own publication. There are 262 identified positions that have been cut, and the minister should not give us this nonsense about attrition and so forth. These are cuts in services to schools, to kids. They represent a real disadvantage for Territory students. Yesterday, ministers snoke about the Departments of Primary Industry and Fisheries and Industries and Development as wealth-creating departments which should not be cut. What a load of nonsense! If ever there is a public investment which generates wealth, it is the investment in the minds of our children. Hr Stone: Good emotive stuff. Mr BELL: I will pick up the interjection from the Minister for Education. It indicates the kind of cynicism he brings to this portfolio. He shouts across the Chamber: 'Good emotive stuff'. I am sorry to disillusion him but, like every member on this side of the House, I happen to believe that we should be working towards a smarter Australia. I know that people like the Minister for Transport and Works do not believe that we are really part of Australia but, on this side of the House, we believe that we are part of Australia and that the Territory should be playing its part to create a smarter Australian work force comprised of people who are able to contribute to life in the broadest possible way. The dishonesty of the Minister for Education has been demonstrated amply by the figures. Of the 262 positions identified as having to be cut, 182 - an incredible 70% - will be lost as a direct result of school closures and changes to the staff-student formula and, while I am on that subject, let me refute another furphy from the Minister for Education this morning. The member for Millner asked a very well-argued question in respect of the Rapid Creek Primary School. He referred to the quality programs which are conducted at that school, and I will come back to those in a moment. In response, the Minister for Education asked: 'What do we do? The place is running at only 50% of capacity'. Let me get this argument on the rails to start with. Mr Stone: What are your Labor colleagues doing interstate? Mr BELL: I will come to that in a moment but, for the time being, let me concentrate on Rapid Creek Primary School and the minister's answer in 775

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