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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 36..


MR HIRD: My supplementary question is: what has the response been from the community in respect of this announcement?

MR STEFANIAK: A hell of a lot better than it was from those people opposite. I was delighted to hear statements from, for example, Mr Clive Haggar, president of the ACT branch of the AEU, who, commenting on the plan, said it was "the most significant education policy in the ACT since self-government". And guess what? That actually puts back into the ACT system almost an identical number of teachers-I think it was 143, Clive said-to those who have left since self-government. And guess who took 100 of those out? Those people over there when they were in.

Now the president of the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, Ian Morgan, said that the plan was an excellent one that would "undoubtedly make a difference". The Canberra Times wrote an editorial on Sunday on it, and it said, "The universal support for the proposal" would make it "unlikely that the Labor Party would derail a move towards small class sizes." Having heard some of the comments opposite, I hope they're right, Mr Speaker. I hope that this lot will not try to derail it.

You see, the dilemma for those opposite is that they have a history of opposing every budget since we came to government. I have already mentioned, Mr Hird, that last year they voted out a budget that gave teachers an 11.5 per cent pay rise, plus money for professional development. Absolutely amazing. So I wonder if those opposite will be prepared to incur the wrath of voters by again trying to vote down this government's initiative.

As the Canberra Times pointed out in its editorial, "the promise of the full implementation of the plan comes with a vote for a Liberal government". I look forward to hearing from those opposite what they intend to do. So far we have had nothing but negative carping from the opposition, and more of that today. We have had no indication of policies or any idea about how Labor proposes to ensure that education and our schools remain at the forefront of outcomes for our students. And if their track record under the Follett government is anything to go by, woe betide the ACT government education system.

Act-of-grace payments

MR QUINLAN: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer and it relates to an act-of-grace payment made to the struggling Deutsche Bank for aborted financial arrangements associated with a large project near Bruce. Can the Treasurer tell the Assembly if delegations exist under section 64 of the Financial Management Act, covering significant act-of-grace payments, say in excess of $20,000? If there are delegations, can the Treasurer say which officers hold them, what limits apply to them, and whether they are publicly available?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, there are delegations in place covering a number of powers under the Financial Management Act, including the power to make act-of-grace payments below a certain level. It would be wrong to try to recall what that level was without getting the information, and therefore I will return to the Assembly with that information. I will take that question on notice. The officers, as I recall, include


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