Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 6 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2068..
MR BARR (continuing):
Unlike those opposite, Mr Speaker, we do not see this simply in terms of a bricks and mortar investment but as part of a holistic approach that includes investing in quality teaching. We know those opposite do not see this investment in these terms. They have very short-sightedly dismissed our capital upgrade program as throwing good money after bad.
I have been asked if I am aware of any other policies. Sadly, there are none. Worse still, Mr Speaker, with just 15 weeks or so to go to the ACT election, neither are the people of the ACT aware of any other policies. Despite much grandstanding about bringing the education portfolio into the leader's office, the Liberal leader has released no substantial education policy. That is much to the consternation of a lot of the key education stakeholders. The Association of Independent Schools, for example, has been calling on the Liberal opposition to release some policy, any policy, so that there can be a constructive debate and alternatives put forward for the election in October.
Mr Seselja has made it abundantly clear that he has no vision for the future of our schools and for the future of our students. A new report has been released that shows that the ACT opposition's view on improving school facilities is wrong. The independent report commissioned by the Australian Education Union confirms what the ACT government has known for some time—that is, the quality of school facilities has a significant impact on student and teacher performance and plays a major role in reducing drift away from government education.
The report shows that the ACT is leading the nation not only in terms of investment in public education, but it reveals that we are the only jurisdiction in Australia investing more in public education facilities than is being invested privately in private school facilities. Earlier this year the opposition leader said he was concerned about this drift. However, in keeping with the mantra of throwing good money after bad, he denies that school infrastructure plays a role in parents choosing which education system to send their students to. This is either lazy or spiteful, Mr Speaker. It is opposition for opposition's sake. Most likely I think it is a confirmation that the opposition leader knows very little about public education and cares for it even less. It shows that he is petty and is unable to acknowledge what is good for ACT students. If he were in government, he would be unable to act on improving public education.
Gas-fired power station
MR STEFANIAK: That was fascinating, Andrew. My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, yesterday in the Assembly, you said, in relation to the identification of blocks for the data centre and power station project:
It would be negligent if government agencies did not have regard to the issue of cost and suitable alternative sites and other potential uses for those sites.
Attorney, in the 2008 estimates committee hearings on 16 June, the Chief Minister said:
Madam Chair, I can confirm absolutely that suggestions that either I or the government took into account the respective valuations or returns to government in relation to the selection of one particular site over another are spurious and false.