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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 3 Hansard (15 March) . . Page.. 633..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

my regret—my enormous regret—that the coroner did not deal with this fire, though, as I mentioned when this question was asked the other day, this matter is now being agitated before the Supreme Court of the ACT in an appeal by two ex-members of the ACT Emergency Services Authority, Mike Castle and Peter Lucas-Smith, and two other members of that authority as they take action, which of course they are entitled to take, in relation to the way in which the coronial inquest was conducted and around the issue of the fact that the fire that caused the damage in the suburbs of Canberra, the McIntyres Hut fire, was not the subject of the coroner's report.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, in the face of the objective and rigorous testing of evidence about the handling of the 2003 bushfires, why have you consistently failed to acknowledge your responsibility in failing to warn the ACT community of the approach of the bushfires?

MR STANHOPE: I have not, Mr Speaker.

Education—policy

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, can you inform the Assembly of some of the current initiatives and achievements in the education portfolio?

MR BARR: It is with great pleasure that I inform the Assembly of some of the current initiatives and achievements in the education portfolio. I thank Ms Porter for her ongoing interest in the education portfolio. It stands in marked contrast to the George and Mildred team on the back bench, stirred as they are out of their bad seventies sitcom to take an interest in what is going on in education.

The government is in the process of delivering four new schools in the ACT. On the weekend we saw the advertisement in the Canberra Times for a project manager for the next stage of the new west Belconnen school that is to open in 2009. Construction of the new school will begin in September on the site of the former Ginninderra district high school.

We have also recently called for tenders for a consultancy to undertake the master planning for the new senior secondary college in Gungahlin on a site adjacent to the Gungahlin Town Centre. The master planning study will examine the feasibility of incorporating facilities for the Canberra Institute of Technology on this site, thereby creating a joint campus with the new college.

The facilities being planned for the college will include a theatre and a gymnasium designed to cater for community use outside college hours. The master planning study will also consider the co-location of a range of sporting and other facilities for the community on the site, which may also include a community library.

These are not the only new schools that the residents of Gungahlin will benefit from. The Harrison school is now well under way and will be open for the 2008 school year.


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