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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4171..


MR BARR (continuing):

them all complete, but it may well be that some parents may not have fully engaged at this point. We will certainly be in contact with every affected student—every affected family—prior to the end of the school year. I am reliably informed that the vast majority of transition plans are in place. But, where they are not, we will seek to resolve that as soon as possible.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, do the families of each and every one of the children with special needs who will be displaced at the end of next week have a guarantee that their children will be placed in a new school setting that, at the very least, maintains the current service levels and care which they have been receiving?

MR BARR: Yes.

Schools—closures

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for education. I refer to comments by a parent of Tharwa primary school in today's Canberra Times. She said:

We are just shocked. Barr pretty much told us he would do everything he could to keep us open and we trusted him.

Why did you give the parents at Tharwa primary school the impression that you would do everything you could to keep the school open?

MR BARR: I never gave any undertakings that I would be able to keep the school open.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why did you betray the trust of parents at Tharwa primary school?

MR BARR: I did not.

Schools—closures

MR SPEAKER: Pursuant to standing order 43, Mrs Burke will ask her question seated.

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, in June you announced the government's Towards 2020 policy, which in its original form saw a proposal to close 39 schools and restructure many more. You outlined savings of over $34 million over the life of the budget and staff losses of 22. Since you have modified the Towards 2020 policy, what are the estimated savings in the budget and the outyears and what staff losses will there be?

MR BARR: I thank Mrs Burke for the question. Yes, obviously we will be revising down the level of savings over the four-year period. I understand it is in the order now of about $21.5 million over the four years. Those figures will be factored into the midyear budget review that the Treasurer will release in due course.


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