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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 585..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker. But I would like some contribution. I would like a little bit of elbow grease from those opposite, a little bit of acceptance of the fact that the lot over there have responsibilities. We are more than capable of making such a decision, Mr Speaker. We have shown over the last six years that we have been able to shoulder the responsibility of getting the territory into the black for the first time, eliminating a $344 million operating loss, Mr Speaker. We have shown that we can make the hard yards and we can do the hard yakka. All those opposite have to do is to find uses for the $4.6 million. It cannot be that hard, Mr Speaker. I hope that they will roll their sleeves up, get their calculators out and do the work which the community expects them to do.

Demountable classrooms

MR KAINE: My question is to the Minister for Education. Minister, I note that your approach to airconditioning in schools as so strongly put last week has markedly changed in the last few days, so much so that now, according to reports, you could spent up to $800,000 on rectifying the problem. Last week you were not going to spend a penny. Minister, this is a good thought, but where is the money coming from? Is it already in your budget, will you be bringing forward a supplementary appropriation bill to provide the money or will you shift money around within your own portfolio and deny money where it is currently programmed to be spent so that you can aircondition schools? Which alternative, which of these options, will you adopt?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. In relation to this issue, Mr Speaker, this government, unlike those opposite, has shown clearly that it is quite capable of listening to people, considering an issue and taking a quick decision. I wonder what the lot opposite would have done in relation to this matter, Mr Speaker. Would they have listened? Would they have had the school board in and gone through its concerns in great detail to see what the problems really were and then seen whether they could do something about it? I suspect not.

Mr Kaine: Very commendable.

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Kaine. It was a very commendable and, indeed, well-considered decision. In terms of the government's proposal, I do not necessarily expect all of the money to be taken up at the start as it will be available over a four-year period. Of course, we have a budget coming up for which I hope you will vote.

Mr Kaine: Do you mean that you are not going to fix this by next summer?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Kaine interjects. The whole idea of the government's proposal is that the schools resources group which will consider this matter will ensure that the cases that need fixing first are fixed first, and that is what it is all about. Mr Speaker, I am quite convinced, having talked to the Gordon school board, that they, with four demountables of two classrooms each, do have some very real concerns.

Mr Hargreaves: How about Charles Conder?


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