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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 3360..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

a member to stand up in this place and make claims, as assertions of fact, of the sort that we have just heard from Mrs Dunne. It is scandalous. It is quite inappropriate for Mrs Dunne to stand up in this place and make claims of that sort as fact. The answer to the question is no.

Schools-Ginninderra

MR SESELJA: My question is to the acting minister for education, Mr Stanhope. I refer to correspondence between the acting manager of the facilities management section and the director of budget and facilities in the education department. In a letter of 16 May this year with regard to the project plan for rebuilding on the Ginninderra district high school site, the acting manager stated:

There is no allowance in this timeline for public consultation with community groups or other interested bodies. This consultation will have to be done concurrently with progressing the project. It will mean that designs will be approved with little or no input from these bodies.

Why have you abandoned your much-vaunted community engagement policy on this project?

MR STANHOPE: We have not abandoned our commitment to community consultation. With this project we have done something that the previous government did not do in relation to Charnwood. As a government, we have acknowledged the fundamental importance of public education to a fair and just society, to a truly equitable society. As a government, we have made the sort of undertaking that no other government of this place has ever made in relation to the renewal of educational services and facilities within a part of Canberra that I think we all acknowledge is an area that is not as advantaged socioeconomically as many others.

How have we expressed that? We have expressed that through a commitment to build, at a cost of $43 million, the best possible school that it is within our remit to build. That is what we are doing. We plead guilty to that. We plead guilty to identifying $43 million to renew educational infrastructure in an area that everybody in this place acknowledges represents a part of Canberra with certain challenges and disadvantages that are not a feature of other parts of Canberra.

We have taken a decision, as a result of our commitment to public education, our commitment to equality, our commitment to fairness and to fair outcomes, to provide to the people of west Belconnen the best possible school that this community can provide. I am incredibly proud of that. This school will be a fantastic legacy of this government and of the minister, Katy Gallagher. The minister, through the government, has delivered to the people of west Belconnen the best school bar none. Let's not misunderstand what it is that we propose. We propose to build the best school bar none in the ACT. This school will take on all comers. This school will provide an environment and learning opportunities on a par with what you might regard as the best school in the ACT. That is what we are talking about. We are talking about that.

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The minister has been going for 21/2 minutes. The question was about why the government has abandoned its community


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