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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 475..


Media releases

MS DUNDAS: My question is to the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services. On 13 December 2001, Mr Stefaniak asked Mr Wood about the lack of media releases from him on the ACT government media release website. At that stage, Mr Wood indicated that it would be fairly well known around here that he is not addicted to putting out reams and reams of media statements. That being said, he now has 20 releases on this site, whereas it appears, Mr Corbell, that you have none. Have you not put out any media releases since being appointed a minister or do you prefer the people of Canberra not to be advised of your activities as a minister?

MR CORBELL: As Ms Dundas well knows, I do put out media statements. I am very happy to provide Ms Dundas with copies of the media statements I have issued over the past week, if she would be interested in them. I am not aware of why media releases have not been put on the government's website. I am not personally responsible for putting my media release up on the net. Nevertheless, I am concerned that they are not there and I will ensure that they are put up there as soon as possible.

Education spending

MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Corbell as minister for education. Minister, you stated publicly recently, I think it was on radio, that the $27 million for education would be spent over the next one to two years. What advice have you received from your department and Treasury-that is, the public servants you were just talking about with respect to another question-and from the Treasurer himself on this proposal to spend the $27 million over the next one to two years? Will you table that advice by the close of business today?

MR CORBELL: No, I will not table any such advice because it is cabinet-in-confidence in the context of developing this year's budget. That is an entirely appropriate process of which members opposite, particularly Mr Humphries, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak, would be well aware. Perhaps Mr Cornwell is not aware of it because he has never been involved in that process, Mr Speaker. Nevertheless, that process is in place.

I need also to make very clear that the government will be looking at all the options in terms of the expenditure of the $27 million which the Liberals tried to use as a vote-buying effort in the last election. Far from attempting to provide a relatively minor benefit to not the greatest number of people possible in the ACT, we will do that by spending it in the schools. We will do that by spending it in schools to the benefit of teachers, children and their parents who use our schools. That is a far more progressive approach than the one prepared to be undertaken by those opposite and is an entirely appropriate approach for this government.

On the issue of when the $27 million will be spent, we will be looking at spending it over a timeframe that gives the greatest benefit as promptly as possible. One to two years is an option; equally, over a four-year period is an option. All these things will be considered in the context of the current budget.


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