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 correspondence, will offer a wider range of courses than is presently available. The Open College itself is part of the newly-formed Distance Education Branch which will also take over the Adult Migrant Education Centre, the Secondary Correspondence School and all of the department's video, audio and print production units. In addition, the new branch will take on responsibility for the Schools of the Air in Katherine and Alice Springs. The Distance Education Branch is an example of the emphasis that the Territory government has put on the delivery of services to isolated areas. It is important to note that, while we will be increasing and developing the number of services available to isolated people, we will be doing so through more effective use of our existing resources. Although the TAFE area has been streamlined, the government has still been able to increase expenditure this financial year by nearly 3% from $31.5m to $32.4m. This takes the total for schools, administration and TAFE to $188.1m, an increase of nearly 6% over last year's total of $177.7m. This year, there is an additional allocation of $6m for administration of the Northern Territory University College, which is an increase of $4.6m on last year's funding. In fact, if the cost of refurbishing the old hospital site is taken into account, the total allocation for education in the Terr1tory reaches more than $200m. In other words, it is close to 1/6th of the total Territory budget. This is a clear demonstration of the high priority that the Territory government gives to this vital area, one of the highest in the country. I spoke about the university during question time this morning and also earlier in this speech. However, it is worth saying again that the Leader of the Opposition cannot justify a federal government which refuses to pay tertiary allowance to disadvantaged and mature-age Territory students. Can he explain away the federal minister's refusal to pay the Abstudy allowance to any Aboriginal students who will enrol at the University College? Flinging wild accusations at the Territory government will not save him. It will confirm only one thing: that he is indeed a clone of Canberra. Unfortunately, Aboriginal education is an issue that brings out the worst in members opposite. They seem to spend so much time whingeing about what is or what is not happening in relation to Aboriginal education that sometimes I believe their motives are based on increasing their electoral profiles rather than representing their constituents. I would like to make it quite clear to the only member sitting opposite that the Territory is leading Australia in the provision of Aboriginal education. There is no doubt that there are still problems in the area and there is no doubt that the Territory government is working to remove those problems. The issue of bilingual education is a good example. South Australia has 1 bilingual school. Western Australia has 1 bilingual school and that is run by an independent group. The Territory has 16 bilingual schools covering 12 different languages, and we are looking to expand our program next year. No education authority in the country comes even close to this performance which I believe certainly does gall the members opposite. Members opposite were remarkably silent when I launched the Open College, which correctly addresses problems in Aboriginal communities. They did not say anything about the FEPPI 12-point plan that we adopted to improve the achievement levels of Aboriginal students. They must find it hard to cope with the fact that their federal colleagues are actually cutting funds for Aboriginal education. I think the situation highlights the fundamental difference between the Country Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party. The difference is that the CLP is committed to representing all Territorians all the time. We do not just dance to the tune of the socialist left from 829

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