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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 381..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Gordon gets the same per capita allocation as some large schools which are already established and have only one demountable. The established schools have heating and cooling systems that go right throughout the schools, but not into the demountables, so the problem is different. The two schools which, according to the minister, purchased their own airconditioning were Theodore and Hall. Theodore purchased one unit for one classroom-it has only two demountables anyway-and Hall bought a unit for its library. I do not think they are valid examples. Both units cost less than $5,000, yet the minister has accepted that it is going to cost $30,000 for the solution at Gordon. If it costs $4,000 per unit for eight classrooms, you have got $32,000, so the numbers work out.

I believe that it is the responsibility of the department to provide basic infrastructure to accommodate students and staff. Providing demountables which are hot boxes in summer and ice boxes in winter is just ducking responsibility. When we provide them as accommodations they should be set up with the proper heating and cooling in them to start with. The minister should accept responsibility for the health of those very young people and realise that the parents are worried about the effect on the health of these kids. They are not scaremongering for the sake of it. The minister should realise that, for the parents to stage a sit-in, it means that they feel rejected, frustrated and angry. He should do the right thing here and provide airconditioning at the school.

While we are on that, the minister said in question time yesterday that only one school was complaining. What about Charles Conder Primary School? I have written to the minister asking him to fix that problem there as well. Of course, I have not had a response, have I? I wrote some time ago. Charles Conder is having classes in the quadrangle because, in the heat of the day, the quadrangle is not as hot as the hot box demountable. If that is not telling the minister something, I do not know what is. I urge the minister to give assistance to both of these schools. In fact, I think this motion should be accepted by the Assembly and the government should just cop its responsibility and get on with it.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.37 to 2.30 pm

Questions without notice

Forestry workers

MR STANHOPE: My question is addressed to the Minister for Urban Services. Can the minister confirm that the industrial agreement between the government and forestry workers includes stringent consultation clauses? Will the minister confirm that ACT Forests management has admitted ignoring the provisions of the consultation clauses, and can he give any possible reasons for that action?

MR SMYTH: I am not sure what the department has or has not admitted. This is clearly about a reform process that needs to be undertaken. We have, after some time and several consultancies-and after consulting, or informing, the workers of ACT Forests what is going on when that information has become available-continued that process.


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