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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3456..


MR PRATT: Thank you. Minister, following your claims that the proposed new territory plan will clarify and expedite many facets of—

MR SPEAKER: Come to the question.

MR PRATT: planning in the ACT, will the consideration of issues such as this be facilitated under the proposed new territory plan?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. Certainly, the government's intention through the Planning and Development Bill, the new territory plan and the range of reforms to our planning system is to ensure that the system is simpler, faster and more effective. We have gone to great lengths to work with all of the major players, all of the key stakeholders, across industry and the community, in order to ensure that we do have a more efficient planning system. One of the key aspects of the system is to ensure that members of the community are able to better understand what is indeed a complex system. By its very nature, it is something that tends to operate in an upper realm, if you like, of complexity. Where people do struggle to understand the detail, it is important, through this reform process, to make our system simpler. That will lead to a faster and more effective planning process.

In the spirit of Mr Pratt's question about seeking simpler, faster and more effective outcomes in the planning system, I am happy to take on board the specific issue he has raised today, seek some advice from ACTPLA and seek to ensure, through this reform process, that we get a planning system that works more effectively for all Canberrans.

Schools—non-government

MRS DUNNE: My question is directed to the Minister for Education. Minister, recently you announced $3.6 million in funding for non-government schools in the ACT. The provision of this funding must be seen in the context of some fairly negative signals coming from the Labor Party about support for non-government schools, including the split in the ACT Labor caucus, when half of the members of caucus voted against any funding for non-government schools in the ACT; the closure of 23 government schools after commitments were given that no schools would be closed; and the comments by the ALP candidate for Eden Monaro, Mr Kelly, that the Labor Party would scrap the current funding formula for non-government schools.

Minister, what assurances can you give to the ACT community that the Stanhope government will not renege, as it has done in the past, on its funding commitments to non-government schools?

MR BARR: I thank Mrs Dunne for raising this issue. I was indeed very pleased to be able to go to Burgmann Anglican school last week to make the announcement of additional funding for non-government schools in the ACT, meeting the commitment that the government made at the 2004 election that we would provide an additional million dollars a year in recurrent initiatives for non-government schools.

This announcement will see commencement of this additional funding for non-government schools from the beginning of the 2008 school year. As members


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