Minister must come clean on Connected Communities report

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Shadow Minister for Education Linda Burney has today condemned the Minister for Education’s refusal to make publically available a report on his Connected Communities program, despite evidence in his diary indicating he was briefed on the report in early February. 

In Parliament today, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli was asked to confirm the report’s existence and release it to the public, and after initially avoiding the question he then claimed the public didn’t need to know.

“Violence, poor attendance rates and high staff turnover have plagued Walgett,” Ms Burney said.

“Mr Piccoli needs to come clean: when did he know things had gone badly wrong and why has he taken so long to act?

“The Minister is either trying to hide the fact that the evaluation process for Connected Communities schools isn’t working or that he has known about these issues for months but failed to take action.

“For 18 months I’ve been aware of the troubling situation at Walgett Community College and I’ve made clear that I am happy to work with the government, but they aren’t interested.

“In April, I called the Minister’s office offering my support but did not receive a response. I issued a media release a few weeks later suggesting a bipartisan approach but, again, I did not hear from him.

“Instead, in Parliament today he treated me, but more importantly, the Walgett community, with contempt.

“If a report was written, surely the recommendations should be made public and implemented? But where is it? Why has he kept silent on receiving it and meeting with the authors?

“These are questions that need to be answered – if not in Question Time, then to the Walgett community.”