Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 2852..
MR BARR: It is worth noting the significant government investment—in the order of $131/2 million—in the establishment of these new early childhood schools. Members would be aware that there is an important national initiative that the Rudd government is implementing in conjunction with the states and territories in relation to a guaranteed 15 hours of early childhood education. This policy area is front and centre for both the territory government and the commonwealth government. We are putting up these early childhood schools as models for national implementation.
I have had meetings—and the Deputy Chief Minister has joined with me in meetings—with the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood, Maxine McKew, in relation to the particular developments here in the ACT. We believe that these will be nation and world-leading early childhood education facilities. The possibility to co-locate services across a range of departments and to provide a one-stop shop of services from birth to eight years is an important part of the government's policy agenda.
We have invested money in consecutive budgets in this initiative. We are very much looking forward to the establishment of these schools and their opening for the 2009 school year, recognising of course that, in the case of Lyons, some of the provision will take longer to come into place as a result of a decision not to commence any construction work during the 2008 school year. We can absolutely guarantee that these schools will be a very important feature of the ACT public education system for a very long time—in fact, longer than all of us will be in public life.
Gungahlin Drive extension
MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Chief Minister. Last month, you announced that work will commence on duplication of the southern end of the GDE. You are quoted in the Canberra Times as saying that the tender process for the work on the southern end of the GDE had been in train "for some time". When did the tender process referred to in your statement officially start and when will the tender process begin for the remainder of the GDE?
MR STANHOPE: I have just tabled a paper dated 20 June which referred to discussions between Roads ACT and Procurement Solutions in relation to the section you have raised in your question, Mr Stefaniak. So I can say explicitly—and I have just tabled a paper—that it was certainly by 20 June 2008. It may be that the minister has more information over and above that, but I have just tabled advice which indicates that Roads ACT was in discussion with Procurement Solutions on 20 June. I will ask the minister whether he has any other information or anything to add.
MR HARGREAVES: With respect to Mr Stefaniak, these people opposite get fixated on formal processes. They say, "When did something happen,"and they have to have it down to the absolute split second. The fact is, as the Chief Minister has just indicated, that there were discussions with Procurement Solutions to get the actual tender process in train in terms of issuing a contract. But we would know, Mr Speaker, and those opposite ought to know, that when you talk about a contract to build a road, you have to talk about the specifications to build that road.