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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004-2005 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 252..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the government. Let me say here and now that I and my colleagues invite and welcome submissions from the community sector.

However, it needs to be said that we have very good lines of communication and very good mechanisms for consulting with the community sector and, indeed, all sectors of the Canberra community. We have consistently been doing that throughout the entire term of our government-that is, over the past three years. It is not as if we are saying to the community sector, "Let's start again. Let's start talking about the issues of moment to you and of concern to us and of concern to you and the priorities as you see them."

All the work we have done in government over the past three years, and the work that we did in the context of the last election and will do over this next four years, is based on a deep understanding of the needs of the Canberra community, and the thoughts and priorities of the community sector and, indeed, all representative organisations in Canberra. So it is not as if we are starting afresh. But we stand ready and are very willing to consult in the context of the upcoming budget on issues that will feature in that budget.

In the context of the electoral cycle, it has to be said that there is real pressure on any government elected in an October election-a late election of any new government-and timelines are tight. We are determined to meet a budget delivery day of May 2005. There is significant pressure on the government and our agencies-and indeed now on the community sector-in terms of the timelines to which we need to work. It is a matter of fact in the first budget of any Assembly after an October election. This issue relates to the appropriateness of having a late-year election, of having October as the date for an ACT election.

Children-Weston Creek centre

MR SESELJA: My question is to the minister for education. The Weston Creek children's centre, which is in our electorate, was destroyed by fire in November 2003. Following the fire, the centre was relocated to the Rivett primary school. I understand that, whilst the government promised to rebuild the centre on its original site in Parkinson Street, little action has been taken to rebuild the centre, which is putting extra pressure on the children, their parents and the staff. Why has the government been so slow in making a decision to start work on rebuilding the Weston Creek children's centre and when do you anticipate that the centre will be rebuilt?

MS GALLAGHER: I remember clearly when the Weston Creek children's centre burnt down and the government moved so quickly to establish a childcare centre at the Rivett primary school to care for the 40-odd children who had been placed in that centre. In fact, I believe that the centre at Rivett primary school opened within just over a week of the childcare centre burning down in Weston Creek, which was a great credit to the staff of the public service who managed to deliver that outcome and re-form primary school classrooms into something that was safe for younger children.

Going on from that, quite a bit of money is being spent on improving the facility at Rivett primary school, including a great deal of work being done on the outdoor area and inside the rooms to make it an acceptable and quite pleasant childcare centre for those


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