We've been asking Territorians whether or not school holidays could be reconfigured to achieve better outcomes for students, but although a majority want something other than the status quo, there is no clear alternative at this stage, writes Peter Chandler, Minister for Education.
UPDATED, 2.33pm & 8.08pm: , see FULL STORY: Shadow Minister for Education Natasha Fyles says the government is "lurching from crisis to crisis" while Education Minister Peter Chandler is saying that Ntaria will be receiving an increase in teaching staff allocation.
Original story: Member for Namatjira Alison Anderson says her office is being inundated with enquiries about what is happening to the staffing of bush schools. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Central Australia is getting $40m in new capital works spending in the Territory's 2012-13 Budget.
This is not counting re-votes from previous Budgets.
The Centre's slice is just 3% of what Treasurer Delia Lawrie describes as "a huge $1.3 billion infrastructure investment across the emergency services, education, health, roads, corrections and housing sectors".
A quarter – $10m – of Central Australia's new allocations will be spent on the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (at left, Google Earth), $5m on the Alice hospital and $5m on the Mereenie road, the Red Centre Way.
Meanwhile the Opposition says Territorians will pay in excess of $1b in interest repayments "as a result of the Labor Government’s failure to reign in debt".
Peter Solly, General Manager Tourism Central Australia, says the Budget "recognised the importance of providing additional funding to the tourism sector to stimulate demand and support the industry in response to the Global Financial Crisis [but] the real value of base funding to the tourism sector has not kept up with inflation".
What does it take to be the best primary school teacher in Australia? To have a warm and vivid presence might be part of it. Add imagination, keenness, a strong sense of possibilities, interest in the world. Then let's not forget experience, support from colleagues, and a school environment where everyone is pulling on the same string to keep kids happy and learning.
This teacher, Jo Sherrin, and this school, Bradshaw Primary, can be found in west-side Alice Springs. Last Friday at a ceremony in Melbourne Mrs Sherrin, one of two teacher-librarians at Bradshaw, was named the nation's Primary School Teacher of the Year at the inaugural Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership. Pictured: Kaylana Hagan (left) and Casey Lally with teacher-librarian Jo Sherrin, who's been named the Best Primary School Teacher in Australia. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
"I've got 55 positions across MacDonnell Shire – I can't fill all of them because I have to compete with Centrelink."
It was one of the starker statements of the two and half hour public meeting held in Alice on Tuesday evening, about the second phase of the Federal Intervention.
The speaker was Tracey McNee, coordinator of Community Safety at the shire, making a point about the disincentive to work created by ease of access to the dole. She "took her hat off" to shire residents who had taken the work, but commented on the remaining vacancies: "[People] don't necessarily have the same pressure and pushes to apply for those jobs."
The jobs are with night patrol services: "No-one is saying night patrol is an easy job, but it is a job," said Ms McNee.
Centrelink is potentially "a large part of the solution," responded veteran community development worker Bob Durnan, suggesting that the organisation has the motivation and capacity as well as permanent staff in communities to help people into jobs (presumably with some forcefulness, if necessary). He said while government has poured a huge amount of money into job networks, they are not based in communities and don't have local knowledge. Centrelink is in a good position to take over job network functions, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Youth worker George Peckham on the microphone at Tuesday night's public meeting.