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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3732..

Connors inquiry

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for education. Minister, you have indicated that the quarter of a million dollar Connors inquiry was due to report by November, 2002. You also advised, in budget estimates hearings in July this year, that the $7 million unspent from the reallocated school bus scheme was to be identified by the Connors inquiry for short-term expenditure.

Minister, is the Connors inquiry on track? When will it report? Can you please update the Assembly, at least in general terms, on the key themes that that inquiry is identifying? Will the Connors inquiry be making recommendations only for the short term, or for the long term as well?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. Yes, the Connors inquiry is on track. Ms Connors has indicated to me, and to the department, that she still proposes to submit a report by the end of this month. She has received in excess of 40 formal submissions. Those submissions, together with fact sheets summarising the current government and non-government education funding arrangements, are available on the website she has established.

Ms Connors' recommendations are not familiar to me-it is an independent inquiry. Ms Connors has provided a briefing to me on the broad theme she is looking at. That is similar to a briefing she has provided to other stakeholders, including everyone who made a submission. Outside of that, I am not aware of the content of Ms Connors' report or, indeed, its potential recommendations. I am looking forward with interest to the issues she is to raise, and the courses of action she suggests to the government.

MR PRATT: Minister, are you unable to at least provide the key themes of what is a major inquiry into a major portfolio? I find this extraordinary.

MR CORBELL: Well, it is called an independent inquiry. That means, Mr Speaker, that the inquiry chair makes up her own mind as to the issues of relevance to her in the context of submissions received by her. She then presents the recommendations to me.

I know this is a little complex and a little innovative and contemporary, but that is the way we are trying to do it. When I get the recommendations, I will certainly be making them public so that everyone is aware of what Ms Connors has proposed.

Government land development

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, four months ago, you told the Estimates Committee, with regard to the proposed land development activity on the part of the government, that cabinet had acted on what you called, at that time, a very rigorous model. During the estimates process, you said that you would be happy to refer that rigorous model for an independent assessment. I quote from the Estimates Committee report:

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