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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 3 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 973..


Mr Barr (continuing):

Greens and the Liberals provided an interim response. The media went straight to them, after I indicated that that would be the government's intended response. At that time—

Ms Hunter: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order as to relevance. I understand there are very tight time frames; I do understand all of that part. I am asking: why didn't we get a briefing that was scheduled on the same day that the minister went out to the media with the information? That is the question I am asking.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, you have given plenty of context. Perhaps you could answer the question.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I indicated, as planning minister and also as education minister, I sought briefings from the stakeholders regarding their requirements of the government as to what they needed the government to do to assist them to apply for funding under the commonwealth program. I received that advice last Thursday and indicated immediately to the media and to all parties what I proposed to do. A briefing was then requested by the Leader of the Opposition on Friday of last week. On Friday of last week, the Leader of the Opposition's office requested a briefing, and I immediately agreed to provide a briefing.

Mr Seselja: I think you'd actually want to check those facts, Andrew. Be very careful.

MR BARR: It may have been Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, but I immediately agreed, upon receipt of the request for a briefing from the Liberal Party, to provide a briefing. The Greens did not seek a briefing at that point. They put out a press release indicating opposition to what the government was proposing. But on Tuesday of this week—yesterday—my office contacted both the Leader of the Opposition and the Greens to set up a briefing for today at 1 pm. That briefing was held, at which I outlined to all those who attended the guidelines that the commonwealth government provided to us yesterday. So it would not have been possible for me to brief on guidelines I had not yet seen. I got them yesterday; the briefing was today. All of this has happened in the last 20 days from when the Senate passed the stimulus plan.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Again for the Minister for Planning, what prevented you from briefing members of the Assembly sooner than you did?

MR BARR: I answered that. In order to brief members of the Assembly on guidelines from the commonwealth that we were provided with yesterday, I needed to have those guidelines and I needed to absorb them, as I did last night and this morning. I then provided a briefing today at 1 o'clock. Let me go through this process again for the clowns opposite. Last Thursday, Mr Speaker, I met with education stakeholders.

Members interjecting—


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