Parents affected by school closures may be entitled to request a statement of reasons from the Minister for Education under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1989 (“ADJR Act”). The ADJR Act applies provides aggrieved persons with ways to appeal decisions and hold decision-makers accountable for their decisions.
The ADJR provides a mechanism by which an aggrieved person can request written statements of reasons for decisions that have been made, and in some cases for decisions that have been recommended but not yet made (such as the recommendation/proposal relating to the school closures). If the recommended decision is classified as the “making of a decision” within the meaning of section 3A of the ADJR Act, an aggrieved person is entitled to request a statement of reasons.
The mechanism is section 13 of the ADJR Act. Importantly, it also provides that a statement of reasons must be requested within 28 days of receiving notification of the decision or proposed decision. This means that requests for a statement of reason must be submitted by Tuesday, 4 July 2006.
The statement of reasons should set out the material findings of fact, the evidence on which those findings were based and detailed reasons for the decision. A draft letter follows which you may use in formulating a request to the Minister.
Relevant legislative provisions:
Education Act: s.20
s.3A relating to “making of a decision”
s.5 grounds for reviewing decisions
s.13 reasons for decision may be obtained
Draft letter requesting statement of reasons for school closure
Your name and address details Xxx July 2006
Mr Andrew Barr MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly
GPO Box 1020
CANBERRA ACT 2601
PROPOSED CLOSURE OF
Explain who you are and how/why you are directly affected by the proposed school closure. Eg. “I am the parent of two children who are directly affected by the recommendation to close Kambah High School. I also have a child attending Mount Neighbour Primary School who is affected by the proposal to close that school.”
The recommendation to close the school(s) will directly affect me and my family.
Please provide me with a written statement of reasons in accordance with section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1989 in respect of the recommendation to close . You can go on to specify any specific issues that you want him to address eg. “please ensure that your statement includes any estimates savings as a result of the school closure” or “the basis on which you project significantly reduced enrolments” etc.
I look forward to receiving the statement of reasons within the statutory timeframe.