Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001

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Parliamentary Record 28


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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 - Thursday 31 May 2001 This focus has included a major investment in information technology, a refocus of resources to better support teachers and students at the coal face and construction of new schools. I remind members that six new schools have been constructed in the last four years alone. The excellent results of Territory Year 12 students last year augers well for the future. A number of these top achievers faced the added challenge of living in more remote areas. The following subject areas were those in which Territory students received a perfect score of 20: Accounting Studies, English, Mathematics I, Mathematics II, Biology, Chemistry, Computing Applications, and Small Business Management. As I have stated before, the overall NT education budget has been increased by $9.4m to $354.7m. It is worth reiterating at this point that expenditure on education per capita has risen in real terms over the last four years from $7111 per student to $8327 per student. The majority of this increase has been committed to school programs. Examples: $1.6m increase to the secondary schools allocation - this is now up to a total of $58.6m; a $500 000 increase to the Open Learning allocation - this is now up to $14m; a $2.6m increase to the urban pre- and primary school budget - this is now up to $89.5m; and a $ 1.5m increase to the remote school allocation, which brings it up to $55.2m. These increases are evidence that key recommendations from the 1998 education review entitled Schools, Our Focus are being implemented. In every regard, the real cost of the administration arm of the department has been reduced, with the extra funds and resources directed to school programs. I am delighted to announce this governments commitment to the Learning and Technology in Schools program - that is, LATIS - has been underscored in the 2001-02 budget. $7.8m has been allocated in 2001-02 which will enable a major rollout of hardware across the 185 NT schools - this includes non-government and remote area schools - professional development courses for teachers, and completion of satellite communication installations. I remind members that the LATIS program provides for the installation of around 3500 computers in 185 schools across the Territory, the installation of 185 satellite dishes to provide Internet access for students and teachers to improve their learning, teacher access to accredited online professional development, and the establishment of four lighthouse schools which will be high tech learning environments and professional development centres. Teachers from throughout the regions will attend lighthouse schools for three to five day courses to leam the best teaching methods available today in the use of information technology. The LATIS program originated in 1997 when this government announced a major overhaul of the information technology capacity of our schools, both government and non-govemment. Other 2001-02 budget initiatives include urban pre- and primary schools. This sector has been allocated $89.5m for the 2001-02 financial year. That is an overall increase of $2.634m compared with the previous year. This allocation will provide for an expected enrolment of 2438 pre-schoolers and 13 709 primary-schoolers across 40 pre- and primary schools located in the urban centres throughout the Territory. There is obviously substantial enrolment growth in the Palmerston and rural areas. The opposition, forever idle on the sideline, tried to spread some fear and loathing into the community, claiming that Palmerston secondary students would not be able to find placements in 2002. This government prefers to get on with planning for the future rather than blowing hot air. Forward planning for these student numbers is well underway. I look forward to making an announcement on how we will cope with the growth expected in that area at an appropriate time. I also announce the 2001-02 budget provides $7.5m to complete the $9.1m Girraween Primary School by the end of this calendar year. The new school will cater for up to 60 pre-school students and 360 primary school students. I can announce there will also be substantial work carried out on Leanyer Primary School: approximately $1.3m to provide improvements to classroom, admin facilities and a new special needs support area. I can also advise as part of the $17.3m Repairs and Maintenance program, Darwin High School will receive expenditure of $ 1.2m. This high school is the largest in the Territory with more than 1000 enrolments. The government has allocated $55.2m for remote schools for the 2001-02 financial year. That is an increase of $1.5m on the previous year. There are approximately 8400 students enrolled in remote schools, the majority being indigenous students. While on the subject of remote area schooling, I visited the Central Australian community of Ali Curung about a fortnight ago. An agreed law and order strategy, a functioning local government council, and great support from the school and health clinic have helped turn this community around. Indeed, the school now boasts 24 secondary aged students, six vocational education and training students, and an outstanding indigenous art program generated by the students themselves. It is interesting to note that that art program is in fact the 7780