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Catholics Support ACT Minister for Education and Training

Student journalist Stephanie L. Anderson reports on the endorsement of the Minister for Education and Training by the CEC.

Chair of the Catholic Education Commission, Mr Daryl Smeaton has praised the appointment of Joy Burch as the new Minister for Education and Training.

“This appointment will help elevate the portfolio as the sector enters a period of important negotiations at a national level,” he said.

He went on to say that Ms. Burch has a responsibility to the Catholic schools in the ACT to ensure a fair funding agreement.

“The new Minister will have the responsibility to ensure that any new funding model… will resource students in ACT Catholic schools to an equitable standard and continue to allow families to choose which school they attend,” he said.

The ACT has one of the highest proportions of school students enrolled in Catholic schools in the country.

The Catholic Education Commission had been pushing for a 20 per cent increase in recurrent funding.

The Canberra Liberals promised to deliver this 20 per cent increase if they were elected.

ACT Labor on the other hand pledged to better fund all schools in the ACT by introducing a funding model based on need.

Both proposals were a solid win for ACT schools and for the Catholic Education Commission.

So now that Labor and the Greens have formed a bi-partisan Government, what is the next step?

ACT Labor has posted short press releases about the new plan, but the actual implementation details of it are still pending.

The exact cost of the new scheme cannot be calculated until the individual schools and their “need” is assessed.

How and when the schools “need” will be assessed is a mystery as yet.

The timeframe for the introduction of the new funding model is still unknown.

Of course it is still very early days for the Government and undoubtedly these details will emerge in the not too distant future.

Senior Officer at the Catholic Education Commission, Tim Smith was pleased with the way the election turned out.

“We are looking forward to working cooperatively with the ACT Government to effectively implement the additional funding to the non-government sector based on need,” he said.

It would seem that although the Catholic Education Commission is optimistic about the future, they are not letting up on the subject of more funding until the schools have the money safely in the bank.

See pre-election reporting on CEC positions on the different parties’ policies.

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