Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3632..
MR BARR (continuing):
They are levels of investment that the opposition continually describe as throwing good money after bad. The shadow minister for education is on record time and time again in this place as saying that this record investment is throwing good money after bad. That is the position of the Liberal opposition. They have no policy of their own on education. They have nothing, other than what is filtered down to them from the federal education minister. Their position, their way to improve quality in the ACT education system, presumably is to rip away that investment, that money that is throwing good after bad, to introduce the HSC into the ACT and to have school lead tables. That is their policy for education, as dictated to Mrs Dunne by Julie Bishop.
Fortunately, I think the people of Australia will have a verdict on the Howard government's education policies this Saturday and will vote for a federal Labor government that is going to invest money in early childhood education, an area that the ACT government is also investing in. I am very pleased to be able to advise the Assembly that enrolments in preschool for next year, in our early childhood schools, are at record levels. We have some very strong levels of enrolment in preschools. The O'Connor Cooperative School is again at capacity. I am advised that, as of last week, only four places are available in the preschool program at Southern Cross, that Narrabundah has filled 22 of the 25 available places in its preschool program, that Lyons is up to 17 out of its 25 and that Isabella Plains has 62 out of its 75 available places.
These enrolments are higher than last year and are showing strength of support for the early childhood model that this government is delivering. It is a pity that the Liberals and the Greens oppose this and have expressed that opposition through the Assembly in many debates. It is unfortunate that that is the case. But this government will continue to invest in quality education.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the consolidated financial report for the September quarter reveals a $92 million variance—that is, a $92 million increase—in revenue received by the territory. Moreover, $46 million of this variance is additional taxation revenue. Treasurer, have you sought advice as to what impact this variance will have on the end of year figures for 2007-08? If so, what will that impact be?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question, which allows me to concentrate on the tremendous success of the reforms that the government has initiated over the last two years to ensure a strong and sustainable bottom line and budget position for the territory—in fact, the strongest that any ACT government has ever achieved.
Of course, we cannot really comment fully on issues about the ACT government's budget position without providing some context. The most relevant comparison is the record surplus achieved by the territory over this last financial year with the four consecutive deficits, which are the major legacy of the Liberal Party in government. Between 1995 and 1999 the Liberal Party in government delivered deficits,