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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 53..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

for some years. Existing schools in the ACT offer a high-quality education at all levels and cater for most areas of demand. Given the Government's commitment and initiatives to reinforce the quality of ACT schools, any new school will face strong competition from existing government and non-government schools.

The Government has responded promptly to the new situation for schools created by the action of the Commonwealth. We are putting forward proposals for consultation, based on sound principles, which will continue to foster the highest standards of education provision in the ACT. Mr Speaker, I look forward to hearing the views of members of this Assembly on the new draft guidelines for the registration of schools. Mr Speaker, I present the statement and move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Ms McRae) adjourned.

Discussion of Matter of Public Importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Wood proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The need for legal aid to be readily available in all circumstances where ACT residents have legitimate need.

MR WOOD (4.03): This debate has been brought on because the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, has again reneged on an election promise - not the first time, and not the first time that there is the possibility of a very strong impact on the ACT. I do not know the history of Mr Howard's residence in Canberra over the years he has been a member of parliament, but something seems to have happened somewhere that made him actively dislike the place and to take punitive action against it.

Mr Moore: He probably got a parking ticket.

MR WOOD: That might have been it; perhaps on more than one occasion, I would think, considering the response, Mr Moore.

Mr Humphries has pointed out that the ACT, more than any State or other Territory, will be affected by the cuts that the Commonwealth Government proposes. Mr Humphries has shown that we, in fact, subsidise the Commonwealth and that the Commonwealth is now proceeding to reduce our level even further. A figure of $900,000 has been given as the likely gap between what has been promised and what we should have. This is a unique situation because the Commonwealth has clearly made a mistake, as has been pointed out by the ACT Attorney. At his meeting yesterday with the Federal Attorney, Mr Humphries might finally have convinced that Attorney that there has been an error.

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