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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 374..


Mrs Dunne: That is exactly right, but did you know that Tharwa was going to—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Dunne, I warn you.

MR BARR: The heroic assumption that is being made by Dr Foskey and Mrs Dunne is that in some way the government was going to immediately hand over the facility of Tharwa that we are still using as a government preschool—that we were going to hand that over. That was never going to occur. That property is maintained in government ownership for the use of the Tharwa preschool. Any conspiracy theory that the property was going to be transferred to a non-government school is just that—a conspiracy theory. It is rubbish.

The amendments to the act simply applied the same provisions to the registration of a new campus for a non-government school as applies to the extension of a year level or the establishment of a new school. There is a process—and it is a process that is supported by the Association of Independent Schools. It is a process whereby there is a registration period. It is an appropriate process and it should be gone through. I think all members would agree that not just anyone should be able to set up a school in the ACT—that you should meet appropriate standards and that there should be an appropriate process.

Ms Gallagher: And there should be demand.

MR BARR: Indeed. As Ms Gallagher points out, there should be demand.

Ms Gallagher: They are the criteria that you used.

MR BARR: They are the criteria in the act. We apply exactly the same criteria, as I say. For those who choose not to listen, I say for the third time—

Mr Smyth: Go and talk to them. Go and talk to the Tharwa residents.

Ms Gallagher: This was the intention of the original act, which you guys supported.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Chief Minister will cease interjecting.

Mr Pratt: We would never have supported the eradication of Tharwa.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Pratt! Mr Barr has the call.

MR BARR: I will say it again. I repeat: the same provisions. If Dr Foskey and those opposite seriously believe that existing non-government schools should be able to establish multiple other campuses without any regulation—if that is what they seriously believe—let us hear them say that. Let us hear them say that to all of the non-government schools that would be affected by one or other of their competitors going out and establishing multiple campuses without any form of regulation. That is what the amendment dealt with, and I stand by it.


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