Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Tuesday 20 April 2016



Debates Day 2 - Tuesday 20 April 2016

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Parliamentary Record 28


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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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 20 April 2016 8129 Ms WALKER: Mr Deputy Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 43, I request an extension of time for my colleague. Motion agreed to. Ms MANISON: Mr Deputy Speaker, the Chief Minister has been to COAG and spoken to the Prime Minister and other state and territory leaders, yet education was not on the agenda. At the same time, the Minister for Education presented a thorough submission to a Senate committee on schools funding, saying that every dollar counts. In the Northern Territory we need every single dollar of funding. We are in a budget cycle at the moment and about to see the big budget numbers roll out. My goodness, this government has sold TIO and the port, cashed in some other agreements and got money up front rather than over a 10-year period, so the money is there. Let us see what commitment this government gives in its budget to education funding, particularly government schools because that is where there have been continual cuts. It would also be good to hear about the governments submission to the federal government, which it was silent on during COAG. What representations have been made to the member for Solomon or Senator Nigel Scullion to ensure there is funding going forward? That is critical. Both the federal and Northern Territory budgets are close, and people want to see a commitment to education funding. After Question Time today I am not sure that NT education funds will be on the up. That was assured, but I will cross my fingers and hope for the best. It is clear that the CLP government realises every single dollar counts in education funding. It has told the Commonwealth that we need continued support at the same levels and that certainty for the coming years. Yet this government has cut funding to Northern Territory schools. This has impacted on urban, remote and bush schools. Everybody has been subjected to these cuts. On a more positive note, where credit is due you give it. I am happy with the commitment to Henbury School and the work happening there. I look forward to the new secondary school. I commend the CLP government for that, and for following on the Henderson governments special schools infrastructure program and the delivery of Bellamack special school. There is need for special education, and there have been huge advances in technology and the delivery of education to special needs students. It is great to see a continued sustained investment in special education infrastructure. That is something you can be proud of, and I applaud you for it. I am heartened to know consideration is being given to the current Henbury School site. I hope we see development of post-school options for young Territorians with special needs so their learning does not end when they leave school. There are concerns in the community about access to special schools and bus service collections. I and my colleagues have heard of various issues regarding collection points. We do not have time to go over that in the contribution today. Non-government schools play a critical role in the delivery of education in the Northern Territory. It is important that parents have choice when it comes to education. Ensuring there is a good, strong relationship with independent schools and Catholic schools to ensure they do their job to the best of their ability they serve a lot of students in the Territory and the government plays a significant role in funding those schools. I understand they are feeling some funding strain as well. There is no doubt we have some incredible people in the Northern Territory working in education. The department is full of Territorians committed to and passionate about driving good education outcomes. We have amazing teachers, support staff and principals in the Territory. As a government you have to support them. You have a clear opportunity in the 2016 budget to ease the pressure they are feeling. We continue to hear about this, and we need to support them because every dollar we invest in education now will save money down the track. I am proud of what Labor wants to do, particularly with the early critical years before students start school the zero to four. We are committed to looking at the Australian Early Development Census indicators and ensuring we do everything we can so Territory kids from day one, Term 1, Year 1 are meeting the benchmarks they need to. Once they are in the school system, if they are meeting the benchmarks they have more opportunity to thrive and their life outcomes will be so much better. It is a critical area and we need more investment into it as we know it works. If we have the opportunity to form government I look forward to seeing the work that can be done in the critical area of early years so that by the time kids get to school they will thrive, grow and learn the most they can through the Territory education system. I thank the minister for this important motion. I had time to prepare my response as the minister delivered it. We knew it was coming on so I pulled out budget papers and some annual reports to

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