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 a student in a government school. In the 2001-02 financial year, it is expected about $12m will be provided to Catholic schools. The Department of Education also continues to provide access to a range of inhouse services like curriculum and student services to the non-govemment school sector. I look forward to continuing to work positively with non- govemment school service providers in 2001-02 and beyond. I turn to Student and School Support Services. This activity has been allocated $61.2m for the 2001-02 financial year, an increase of $1.9m. For the benefit of members, Student and School Support Services now has a branch structure which emphasises support for students with special needs. In the coming financial year, the Department of Education will focus on early intervention to identify students with special needs. An Intervention First strategy has been finalised for implementation in semester two of this year. The department will be better able to meet the needs of those identified within the school context. Members may recall that during 2000, a major review of the departments Student Services activity was undertaken. This resulted in a comprehensive report and recommendations which will ensure more timely and effective services to both students and schools. Some recommendations being implemented include: Strategic Directions for Behaviour Management; Transparent Disability Support Funding model, and the Intervention First model. I have recently announced a 40% increase in the fuel subsidy allowance for parents transporting their children to remote schools. This allowance, known as the Conveyancing Subsidy, has been increased from 210 per km to 300 per km. This 40% increase means an additional $65 000 in fuel subsidies will be paid to parents of children who need to transport their children to remote schools. That is a further example of this governments willingness to recognise the needs of Territorians and to do something positive about it. Before turning to other agencies under my Ministry, I take this opportunity to mention several initiatives which have assisted overall communication between the department, principals, parents, teaching staff and students across all NT schools. The second Annual Principals Forum was held in April this year and the theme of the forum was Leading Territory Education: 2001 and Beyond. The forum provided the opportunity to focus on issues confronting education in the Northern Territory. I attended along with other senior departmental officers and approximately 120 principals from across the Territory. Feedback from participants has been very positive. In the field of indigenous education, I remind members that this aspect is very much core business of the department. This is reflected in the establishment in 1999 of a dedicated Indigenous Education Branch. The branch has developed a strategic plan to focus its work over the next five years. I can confirm that this government through the Indigenous Education Branch will direct government resources to improve results for indigenous students. It will inform schools in the indigenous community of key priorities to create rapid and long term improvements. It will provide a framework for negotiating agreements with the Commonwealth, schools and other agencies to ensure mutual obligation and commitment to improving the education results of indigenous students. The ultimate focus is to work with communities to encourage regular school attendance. It is to work with parents and health staff to foster and promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyles which will enhance educational results. It will strongly focus on English literacy and numeracy. The education budget I have outlined today will ensure the Territorys 40 000 students, 2700 teachers and many thousands of parents continue to enjoy quality education delivery. I look forward to continuing to work with school councils, the wider school community and the department as we strive for excellence at all levels of this important portfolio. I dont pretend for a moment that all is rosy in the education garden, but I can confirm that this government has positive plans to deal with other challenges that are out there. I now turn to the portfolio of Tertiary Education and Training. The 2001-02 budget for the Northern Territory Employment Training Authority is $62.43m. This governments focus and that of the NTETA has been to ensure the skills required for industry and community development as well as emerging industries such as oil, gas, IT, major construction and service industries are being created here in the Territory. In vocational education areas a wide range of choices in training is delivered through public and private providers, and on the job. While entry to traditional trade apprenticeships has remained steady, there has been significant growth in apprenticeships in the hospitality industry, a 160% increase from 1999-2000 and other areas such as business and retail. To support the growth, this government has increased its budget for apprenticeship training from $3.4m in 2000 to $7.6m in 2001. The Northern Territory University is undergoing a major strategic positioning review to ensure it continues its leading edge approach to higher education and to give it a clearer focus to position itself for sustainable growth in the future. 7782