Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 9 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 2831..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, we will continue to lobby the Federal Government on this issue. My understanding, or my advice on this, is that no decision has been taken to relocate, so I think it is really important that we keep up the lobbying efforts. They did start a couple of months ago. We have been very proactive in this area. I will ensure that another letter goes to the Prime Minister. John Fahey, I suppose, is the appropriate Minister. Maybe he is not. Anyway, I will ensure that the appropriate Minister is also lobbied on this issue. I am confident that the staff will do exactly the same. Let us hope that what is being touted as a relocation to Sydney never happens.
MR CORBELL: I am very pleased to hear that the Chief Minister is following up this issue. My supplementary question, Chief Minister, is this: What evaluation have you done of the likely flow-on effects of the transfer of another 250 jobs out of Canberra, and will you release this information to the Assembly?
MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, we have not done any work on what would happen, because we know it would be awful. We will be doing everything in our power to stop it happening, not doing silly reports on what would happen if it did.
MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak, and is about the use of computers in ACT schools. Minister, a recent survey carried out by the Australian Education Union found that only a third of ACT teachers had access to a computer and that that access lasted for an average of 4.2 hours per week. From the information you have, Minister, are these figures correct?
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Osborne, thank you for the question. Whilst I suppose there are always improvements that can be made, I think this Government has made significant advances in terms of computer use in schools by teachers and, especially, by students, and has done considerably more than the lot opposite. Mr Speaker, the Government has a commitment to providing ACT government schools with the means of enhancing students' knowledge and use of information technology. We have demonstrated that commitment through the provision of a significant amount of hardware and a number of other things which I will come to.
Just in terms of hardware, 435 ex-government computers have been provided free to schools since February 1996. The Government has identified another 300 ex-government machines to be given free to schools over the next six months. As well as that, Mr Speaker, we have purchased 200 computers this year and passed them on to schools at cost, and a further 700 computers have been confirmed to be passed on to schools at cost from a major computer supplier. We are also negotiating for a further 1,000 machines through a leasing company.
Mr Osborne will probably appreciate the importance of this next point because software in computers and computer programs change very rapidly these days with advances in technology. There is a very important thing that we are trialling. We are trialling new software at Dickson College and Caroline Chisholm High which will give all of those