Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

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Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


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 9 May 2017 1650 It is a key platform and commitment of this government to return local decision-making to our remote communities and to Indigenous peoples. As I have heard the Chief Minister say, decisions made in Darwin about the communities I represent are not always right. Decisions made in Canberra, thousands of miles away, are often right. But if the decision is made at a local level by local people who know bestwhether that is in Maningrida, Gunbalanya, Warruwi or Wurrumiyangathe chances are much higher that those decisions are the right ones. This is very true when it comes to education, which is why Labor has committed to community-led schools to strengthen decision-making and ownership of schools. To strengthen engagement across school communities which embrace the elders, the families, the children and the people who work there. Having more say in how that schools runs, what it teaches and how it teaches children is important to my community schools because it is empowering. There are many wonderful things that happen in schools in my electorate, but let me place on the record the success we see at Gunbalanya School, where hand-in-hand with the community it has brought about effective change. Gunbalanya School co-principals Sue Trimble and my sister, Esther, have demonstrated that more involvement in the community and a change to the timing of school terms can go a long way to having a positive impact on school attendance while making sure that students with their families maintain cultural responsibilities and obligations. This is a school which adapted its terms to maximise attendance, and it works. In many ways, Gunbalanya School has been a community-led school for years, and being an independent public school has provided the flexibility to strengthen community decision-making processes through a board. Labors policy of formalising community-led schools is intended to place decision-making of schools back into the hands of local people, and I am sure the continuing successful journal of Gunbalanya will inform the roll-out of this initiative. Gunbalanya is a great example of local school leadership, ensuring strong alignment between schoolbased education, programs and local needs. I was pleased to accompany Minister McCarthy, who was acting Minister for Education, to Gunbalanya community on 19 January to congratulate the eight students who had successfully completed Year 12. I take this opportunity to offer congratulations to them. Bavorina, Victoria, Lorena, Alexandria, Sharleena, Corinia, Tennisha, Zoe. These young people should be highly proud of their achievements. They are wonderful role models for their peers, and a credit to their families and their teachers. There are challenges in remote schools, but there are successes as well. Time today does not permit me to talk about all of my schools, which I am trying hard to visit. Two months ago I was at Maningrida and I had the opportunity to catch up with the school principal, Miranda Watt. School leadership is an important part of any schools success. That is why we are investing in supporting our teaching staff and principals like Miranda, developing our school leadership workforce. Miranda is a great asset, and I enjoyed knowing her as a teacher at Garden Point and now as the principal at Maningrida. Maningrida School stands out as a critically important part of the life and future of Maningrida. I am reminded that in many of our remote communities over half the population is under 25, and Maningrida is no exception. Maningrida has a proud record of incorporating languages and culture in the day-to-day life of the school and has had great success with some of its nature-based science programs, like those involving Mason Scholes and his work with students at Maningrida, leading to the discovery of 25 new species of spiders, as well as perhaps the largest population of tarantulas in the world. Miranda has an active school council at work, chaired by Dale Pascoe. Miranda shared with me some of the school councils objectives for the next 10 to 15 years, which include: 1. improvement to homeland educational services, better use of technology and more alignment with Maningrida School curriculum