Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 11 November 1986 We also had the promise of active promotion of the teaching of community languages and bilingual education programs in schools. Terrific! This came hand-in-hand with a commitment to promote the incorporation of culturally diverse perspectives in the curriculum, organisation and practice of all schools. The federal government has backed up these undertakings by terminating the multicultural education program and chopping the ethnic schools program. It is great stuff. People can trust the Labor government with education. The Territory has also been hit by the axing of the computer education program and reductions in funding for special education and education centres. All these cuts contravene promises made by the federal Labor government. Let us not forget that we did not receive any prior warning, not even an hour's notice. In these circumstances, it is no small achievement that the Territory government has managed to increase funding for Territory schools by 6.6% this financial year. The member for Arafura said that, after allowing for inflation, it is actually a cut. By crikey, after almost having our heads chopped off by the federal Labor government, it is a wonder that we even managed to keep our schools open, let alone provide a 6.6% increase. The total allocation for the department's administration and schools section rose from $146m to $156m. However, administration has actually fallen in order to protect schools as much as possible. Isn't it great, Mr Speaker? There is 1 member of the opposition in the Assembly. They really think that education has top priority. Federally, they cut the funding and, locally, they all leave the Assembly. They are really interested. The member for MacDonnell is still here. Great stuff! It is nice to see that at least 1 of them is interested in education. He should perhaps try to talk his colleagues into hanging around. In drafting this education budget, our highest priority has been the welfare of Territory students. It has not been an easy task. The member for Arafura could do well to read this. In real terms, we have managed to maintain the level of direct funding to schools as well as covering increased student enrolments. We estimate that there will be an increase of 2.5% in the number of students next year, bringing our student numbers to 29 500. In recognition of this, staffing levels have been maintained. The government will spend more than $2m to employ more than 120 new staff next year. Of these, 20 will be assistant teachers for homeland centre schools which are to be built under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Capital Grants Program. There is an additional allocation of $275 000 to provide for 16 assistant teacher positions in homeland centres, which were funded by the federal government until June this year. This is another great example of the federal government's attitude to education: 16 teachers would have lost their jobs. The Territory government has agreed to meet this cost rather than leave those communities without a service, but there can be no thanks to the federal Labor government and its Territory colleagues. This cut means that the Territory will not receive l of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs' educational funding. That is disgraceful. We received only $278 000 last year, less than most of the states, even though the Territory has almost 50% of Australia's traditionally-orientated Aboriginals. What a great job the Australian Labor Party does in government! It really looks after Aboriginals. I know this information will get around so that people will see what sort of support the Labor Party gives to the outlying areas of Australia. 827