Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2518..
MS PORTER (continuing):
because it is all about our children that we are trying to do so. It is about the quality of education. It is about what we can achieve now and into the future.
Only last night I was discussing with two of the schools in my electorate a meeting that they will be having next week and this morning I was arranging for a departmental representative to be present with me at that meeting so that they can discuss with that representative and me the particular ideas that they have about ways forward. One of the things that have really impressed me about the meetings that I have had with various people is that they are wanting to engage in finding ways forward, what they can actually do to work with the government, because they are now realising that we do have to do something about the declining enrolments in our public education system and our crumbling infrastructure.
Mrs Dunne: Crumbling infrastructure! Give me a break!
MS PORTER: Much of the infrastructure is crumbling, Mrs Dunne. There are some excellent schools, as you know, that are not in such bad shape, but there are some that are in really bad shape. I will continue to work with the government to achieve the best long-term outcome for all children who are in the public education system in the ACT or who may wish to join our public education system, because that is what I see as my role in this place.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.27): Mr Speaker, I will not keep you too long. As you heard earlier, this government will not be supporting this motion. The consultation process is in train. We are supporting that process. I have not heard in this debate any comment from the opposition, or the crossbench for that matter, on how they would improve the education system in the ACT, what they would do, where they would get the money from to improve the infrastructure in Canberra, what they would do with the $90 million infrastructure spend on education. Do they think that the $90 million is irrelevant? The school groups do not.
Mr Speaker, I bring you to a meeting I had with the school representative council at Kambah high last Friday. They do not think providing extra expenditure is irrelevant. In fact, they would like to see a new years 7 to 10 campus, perhaps with a CIT, at Kambah. But we still have not heard, as I said, from the opposition or Dr Foskey on where they would like to see education money expended. They have put up a wall against closures and they want to extend the process.
I also want to comment on Dr Foskey's remarks about the minister not listening to her in the chamber. Dr Foskey is not in the chamber at the moment. She is again not in the chamber. She is not in the chamber many times. In fact, she is not even here to move her own motions in the chamber. So I think it is quite hypocritical for her to say that the minister is not listening to her when she is not even here in the chamber to listen to the debate on the process.
The six-month consultation period is an agreed position. As we heard earlier, it is in law. But what did the Liberals have in place? One month. We have seen the press reports from 1990. One month was the consultation period under the Liberals. This consultation period is six months—six months, not one month. We are already seeing, as I have mentioned, parents and students having an input to the consultation process and making