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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 398..


Mr Whitecross: Why do you not pay overtime?

MR HUMPHRIES: We do pay overtime. We pay lots of overtime, Mr Whitecross; we pay plenty of overtime. I can tell you about the overtime we pay. Mr Speaker, the point about this fifth crew, of course, is that if there is an incident in, say, Belconnen, as was the case the other night, a fifth crew based at Fyshwick will not necessarily be able to assist in alleviating that problem. Sometimes it will, but sometimes it will not. Ms McRae is obviously so interested in the question that she is not even bothering to tune in any further.

Ms McRae: You are not answering it.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am fully answering your question. I have answered every component of your question.

Ms McRae: Would you like me to read you the press release, Mr Humphries? You are not answering it.

MR HUMPHRIES: You go right ahead. If you have another question on that theme, I am sure you will be able to do it then. I say that people should not assume that the fifth ambulance necessarily provides any better level of service in a particular case.

Schools - Voluntary Contributions

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Stefaniak, Minister for Education. Once again, with the commencement of the school year, I have received information that schools are still blackmailing parents with regard to voluntary fees. In the case of Lake Ginninderra College, I believe students who have not returned a form with their fees or indicating how the fees will be paid have not received their textbooks. I also believe Lake Ginninderra College is not alone in this respect. When is the Government going to enforce their policy of these fees being voluntary - that is, v-o-l-u-n-t-a-r-y - only and not use children's education as a pawn in order to receive fees?

MR STEFANIAK: I think this Government has made it quite plain now from the word go that we regard voluntary contributions as just that - voluntary. We have had an inquiry in relation to this by an Assembly committee. We have also stressed that point, I think, to the satisfaction of groups who have been constantly pushing that - groups like the P and C - to the stage now that groups like that are keen to look at the positive side of contributions and ensure that school communities know what benefits flow from contributions. As you are probably no doubt well aware, Mr Moore, the Government is assisting schools in terms of actually providing sample letters to go out. There are a number of publications from various schools, Mr Moore, which you might be interested in. I saw a very good one, I think from one of the Belconnen high schools, just recently, which you might have seen - I think it was Canberra High - which made it quite plain from the word go.


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