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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3147..


MR STANHOPE: These are issues. One of the pressure points certainly in the territory in relation to affordability is the fact that the commonwealth is employing and employing, which is wonderful. It also contributes to the fact that our unemployment rate is now 2.7 per cent, traditionally the lowest level of trend unemployment in the history of Australia. Then you may say, "Oh well, the commonwealth is employing another 5,000 people. Unemployment is on 2.7 per cent, so let us fix the problem in relation to affordability by removing land tax."I do not think so. But we will look at all of these issues.

Of course, the government would acknowledge in the face of an objective, rigorous assessment that land tax is inhibiting investment, but none of the statistics show that. In 1990, before land tax was introduced, the proportion of housing in the ACT that was owned by investors was-guess what?-20 per cent. In 2006, guess what the proportion of housing in the ACT owned by investors is? It is 20 per cent. And in the middle, land tax was imposed. (Time expired.)

Schools—closures

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the government for allowing me to ask a question for Mrs Burke.

Mr Stanhope: Only on the basis that she does not interject.

MR STEFANIAK: She will have trouble interjecting, Chief Minister. She has a bad throat. It would be a silent interjection.

Mrs Burke's question is to the minister for education. It relates to the process of analysing submissions made to the government as part of the Towards 2020 process. Minister, who will undertake the analysis of submissions received during the consultation process? How will the submissions be analysed? What methodological framework or tools will be used to reliably interrogate and draw conclusions from the data? Finally, do persons undertaking the task of collating and analysing submissions have the requisite training and skills?

MR BARR: I thank Mrs Burke, through Mr Stefaniak, for the question. In the last sitting Dr Foskey asked me a very similar question. My reply has not changed. The Department of Education and Training will be assessing the submissions, and the highly qualified staff within the department will be providing that information to cabinet, where the final decision-making process will occur.

MR STEFANIAK: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, what reassurances can you give the parents of Canberra schoolchildren that the material they put forward will be fairly considered and the outcome will not simply be a fait accompli?

MR BARR: I can give every assurance, as I have gone around now to, I think, nearly 80 schools across the territory and held nearly 100 consultation meetings with school


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