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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2884..


MS McRAE: I am not sure that I heard the apology, Minister, but what I would ask by way of a supplementary question relates to all these arrangements that you say that the department will undertake in determining the needs of each child and the different types of transport that are and are not going to be available. Different parents have already heard quite different stories. When, and at which point, will you be writing to them so that every parent has the same set of information in front of them, instead of being given a range of different stories; in particular, in relation to transport support which they normally would have had if they had been going to Malkara, in relation to costs and in relation to confirmation of the type of supervision that is going to be available to their children? When will this be given to them in writing?

MR STEFANIAK: I am advised that a number of children are already in programs. The reason for giving a contact number, the reason for the letters which went out through the schools and for the individual letters to all parents from the CEO of the department, is to ensure that suitable programs are available for each of these children. Some of these children's needs are very different. Some of these children probably need extensive assistance; others need less assistance. Parents and children might like to go to certain geographical areas of Canberra. Those are the things that have to occur. A number of children have been placed already, and that is why, as I indicated last week, parents are being encouraged to contact the department to work out the specific suitable needs for their child.

Charnwood High School

MR WHITECROSS: My question is directed to Mr Stefaniak, the Minister for Education and Training. It is in regard to the future use of the buildings formerly occupied by Charnwood High School, before it was closed due to lack of funds. Can you give the Assembly and the community an assurance that the community in West Belconnen will be consulted before you decide on a future use for the buildings?

MR STEFANIAK: The simple answer to that is: Of course we will.

MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I ask the Minister: Will you now give an assurance that this future use will involve public facilities for the people of West Belconnen; or are you envisaging a private use for the facilities? Will you give an assurance that the existing buildings will not be knocked down?

MR STEFANIAK: The Government at this stage has not made up its mind in relation to the possible uses of Charnwood High, because the school is still being used, as you are well aware, and will be until the end of the week. Certain furniture has to be taken out and moved to Ginninderra. But the Government is considering possible uses. A number of suggestions have been made to it, and, obviously, the concerns and suggestions of the West Belconnen community will be very important in terms of any decision that the Government will ultimately make as to the use of Charnwood High School. The Government is keen to deal with this matter as expeditiously as possible and not let the situation develop, as developed at Holder High School, under your Government, where the buildings were unused for many years.


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