Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1202..
MR BARR (continuing):
Upon confirmation of enrolment at another ACT government school and the receipt of the application from the parent on behalf of their child, that was processed and the money was paid. My advice from the department is that around 600 payments have been made. There were some delays because there was a requirement to have confirmation of enrolment in another ACT government school. Where there were cases of hardship and the principal of the receiving school certified that the student had enrolled, we did provide that money in advance, but most parents were happy, upon confirmation of their child's enrolment in another ACT government school, to receive that money.
As far as I am advised by the department of education, with a couple of exceptions for people who sought to access the money to pay private school fees or to enrol in New South Wales, nearly all of the applications that were made have been accepted and processed. Those who met the criteria have received their $750 transition payment, as the government advised they would.
MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you assure the Assembly that families eligible for the transition payment over the coming years will have received their payment before the commencement of school?
MR BARR: No. The criterion for the transition funding is that confirmation of enrolment in another government school must be received.
Mr Stanhope: Which is quite reasonable.
MR BARR: That is quite reasonable, as the Chief Minister says. I can advise that 705 applications have been received, so some people who were anticipating a change at the end of 2007 have already provided that information to the department and, following confirmation of their enrolment in another ACT government school, that transitional assistance will be available. More than $500,000 has already been directly provided to families who were affected by a school closure at the end of 2006. The government is absolutely clear that the transition payment of $750 for any affected child is available provided the student enrols in another ACT government school.
MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for sport and recreation, who is also the minister for education. Minister, recently you and I attended a valuable forum on the importance and benefits of sport and recreation in education. Today we attended another meeting in the luncheon break at which approximately 200 other interested individuals heard of the reduction of watering of playing fields in the ACT. Minister, what impact will the impending wholesale abandonment of playing fields, in particular school playing fields, through the reduction of watering have on students of the ACT in both the government and the non-government sectors?
MR BARR: Undoubtedly, as was discussed at the forum today, a large part of it before Mr Smyth's arrival, these issues present a major challenge not only to sport but also to schools in the government and non-government sectors. Perhaps fortunately for a number of schools, they have the ability to move sporting activities and physical