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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2330..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

exert influence over how the emerging authority was to do its job. Imagine the criticism from those opposite if they felt and they heard that the Department of Justice and Community Safety should be overruling the advice of the emerging authority.

It was a time, quite clearly, of transition. But let us make no mistake about what was happening. The newly appointed head of emergency services, the commissioner designate, was in place. He was advising government directly and his advice was being accepted by the chief executive of the department and by the minister, and that is what those opposite wanted to happen as much as this government did at that time.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what responsibility did the minister for emergency services have for decisions made by the emergency services bureau in that period, and specifically in relation to the foreshortening of the trial?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, can I answer that question? I was not the minister at the time.

Budget—increased charges

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in the latest budget papers there is a table that compares ACT taxes with New South Wales taxes, but that table does not include a comparison of the water abstraction charge, increased by an average of $75 last year, the fire and emergency services levy, which this year will cost each household $87, the method used to calculate increases to charges, which in the ACT is the rapidly increasing and compounding WPI, or the utilities network facilities tax. Why are these charges not included in this table when you have done a comparison with New South Wales?

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take that question on notice. I do not know the answer but I am happy to get back to the shadow minister with that information.

MR MULCAHY: I ask a supplementary question. Will the treasurer consider instructing his department to develop a new table including these taxes?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I will consider that.

Schools—bank balances

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, it has been reported that bank balances in public schools collectively total $21 million. Can you advise the Assembly why bank balances total $21 million and how the money will be spent?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for her question and for her ongoing interest in public education in the ACT. It was reported in this morning's Canberra Times that our 88 government schools have just shy of $21 million in their bank accounts. This is welcome—that schools are so well resourced. I am very pleased to be able to advise

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