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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2452..


MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Minister, was that a temporary backflip or can you guarantee that you will not revisit the idea of removing religious education and practice from government schools?

MR CORBELL: The premise of Mr Pratt's question is incorrect because the government has never proposed the removal of religious instruction, as opposed to religious education, from government schools. Indeed, religious education is already a part of the normal curriculum. That, I think, highlights Mr Pratt's misunderstanding of the issue. General religious education occurs as a matter of course where students are taught about the broad variety of religious faiths and philosophical beliefs in the world today. Religious instruction is instruction provided by a person who is duly authorised to provide that instruction by that particular faith and religion.

The proposal as outlined in the exposure draft when it was released was that religious instruction should occur in schools, parents had a right to request that it occur in schools and schools had an obligation to provide it, but it should not be provided during normal school hours, during the time devoted to the normal curriculum that everyone is entitled to receive. The government has withdrawn those provisions and has indicated that it will not reintroduce those provisions, but it will speak with stakeholders, both people who firmly believe in the former provisions and those who are firmly opposed to them, and will work towards a sensible way forward.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.

Mugga Lane tip-operation of facilities

MR WOOD: On 26 June Ms Dundas asked about the new shed at Mugga Lane landfill. She wanted the government to undertake to directly negotiate an affordable lease agreement with Revolve, no doubt bearing in mind a bit of a dispute there. I advise as follows.

In February 2001 Thiess was awarded the contract for operations at Mugga and the construction of the small vehicle transfer station, including improved facilities. The contract requires Thiess to manage the reusable centre under subcontract. The intent-the word is "intent"-of the territory's agreement with Revolve and Thiess was for Revolve to continue to operate the reusable facility at Mugga Lane landfill as a subcontractor.

However, during construction of the facilities, the working relationship between the two organisations became strained. ACT Nowaste has spent considerable time negotiating with both Thiess and Revolve in an attempt to facilitate an agreement between the two parties. An approach has been made to Peter Bird, chair of the Revolve board, and he is becoming involved, I understand.

Thiess and Revolve are still negotiating in an attempt to formalise a long-term agreement. I say this with some caution, Ms Dundas. It is anticipated that an agreement will be reached shortly. I know I've said that before. There has been advice that we thought an agreement was about to be signed, but it does go on. So I do not want to be specific about this. I do not know when an agreement will be signed or whether in the


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