Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 1389..
MR BARR: I sought regular briefings with my capital works team within the Department of Education and Training. Yes, I will be happy, at the completion of the projects, to provide information on the costings and the timetables that are outlined. There is, of course, going to be full transparency in relation to these projects.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary?
MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, do you have any information about how the costings for the BER buildings compared with costings for the education department's similar buildings in previous years and, if it has changed, why it has changed?
MR BARR: The advice I have from the department is that in many instances, due to a reduction in some construction costs due to the economic downturn, in fact many of the projects that were part of the BER package were able to be delivered at a cost in some instances somewhat lower than has been the case in the ACT in recent years. So the answer to Ms Le Couteur's question is no, there has been no dramatic change in the costing. In some instances, they have been cheaper, particularly if we have been able to source particular material by purchasing in bulk across a range of programs—recognising, of course, that the BER proportion of overall capital works spend in education is about $150 million of a $500 million investment. It is a significant proportion and a most welcome contribution to investment in education from the commonwealth government.
It does stand in marked contrast to what occurred in the 11 years prior to the election of the Rudd government. In the context of investment in education in this city, the BER funding is only a small component. The vast majority of funding has been provided by this territory Labor government investing in quality public education infrastructure. We have been criticised. Mrs Dunne, time after time, said that it was throwing good money after bad to be investing in public education. Our record stands. Their record on investment in public education at the federal level and the territory level is appalling.
MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water. Can the minister please outline to the Assembly the progress of the government's energy efficiency programs?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. Indeed, the issue of energy efficiency is another one of those items mentioned in the parliamentary agreement between the ACT Labor Party and the Greens, Mr Speaker. It is an area that the Labor government has been working on for some time. I am very pleased to provide advice to the Assembly on the steps the government is taking to improve energy efficiency in Canberra homes and businesses.
We are delivering a wide range of programs. Indeed, the government funded in the last budget a $19 million initiative to provide energy efficiency rebates, programs and