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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2037..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

I am very tired of Catholic schools where ordinary people send their children for a variety of reasons being treated as though they were all Shore or St Joseph's, Hunters Hill or Cranbrook. I am quite sick of having people say how "rich" kids benefit from initiatives for things like free school bus travel. I think you should consider this an equity issue. You tell me where in my local area (within 2km) the state system offers boys a fair and equitable education with full access to the resource areas that boys need and I'll send them there.

In the meantime, I put you on notice that I and my husband who have never voted anything but Labor will be voting Liberal in the next election-unless we see some justification for this decision other than the usual ill-thought out knee-jerk reaction.

I could not have put it better myself.

Disability services inquiry

MR WOOD: My question, which is to Mr Humphries, is about the likelihood of Mr Gallop's interim report on disability services being released before the election. Mr Humphries, on the last sitting day you deflected my question on this subject on the ground that it may contravene standing order 117 by calling for an expression of opinion, that is, why did Mr Gallop take the unusual step of presenting an interim report? Today, I just want the facts, please. Did Mr Gallop present the report to you personally? If so, what did he say to you? Secondly, was there a covering letter? If so, will you table it?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, Mr Gallop did present the report to me personally on 1 June. What did he say? He explained the time that it had taken to come to the stage of being able to present an interim report. He explained that there was still a considerable amount of work for the inquiry to do and, in saying that, he foreshadowed that he would be making an application or a request for an extension of time and possibly also for an increase in his budget to be able to deal with the issues which had not yet been addressed by his inquiry.

He said that it was up to me to decide what to do with the report, as to whether it was to be produced and what particular steps were to be taken for its dissemination. He indicated what course of action he had adopted with respect to the coroner's inquiry into the matter of the three deaths which were the subject also of the interim report. That is broadly a summary of the discussion that we had.

He gave me a covering letter to the report, as I recall, and I will consider the release of the covering letter at the same time as I make a decision about the release of the report itself.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question. Mr Humphries, has anybody-perhaps not you, but an officer-studied the report and have any actions flowed as a result?

MR HUMPHRIES: Some officers within my department and within the Department of Health, Housing and Community Care have examined the report in order to give the government advice. The product of that, of course, is the legal advice which has now been commissioned for giving the government an indication of what it should do with this report.


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