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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 7 Hansard (28 June) . . Page.. 2641..


ample resources and ample time in order to bring forward amendments that they think are worthy for this place to consider. They have not done that.

In relation to the functional review, the independent review, Laurence Street has reviewed that document. It is the only document that he has reviewed and he has agreed that it was designed for cabinet purposes only. (Time expired.)

Schools—Tharwa preschool

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Community Services and is about the operation of Tharwa preschool. Minister, can you advise why the Tharwa preschool is still operating out of a building in Conder rather than at Tharwa, and what is the time frame for the preschool's return?

MR BARR: I have responsibility for preschools, so I am happy to take the question. Tharwa preschool is indeed annexed to Charles Conder Primary School—all preschools were amalgamated into a primary school structure about four or five years ago. The operation of the Tharwa preschool, as I said in response to Ms Hunter's question, will depend entirely on the level of enrolments. If there are not sufficient enrolments, the government cannot run the preschool. We will get into the realm of the Yes, Minister episode where there will be a school with no students. I do not think even the Greens would be supporting that.

I am happy to take some further advice from the Education and Training Directorate in relation to enrolments. We have sought in the past to expand the preschool service to allow three-year-olds, as well as four-year-olds, to attend the preschool in order for there to be sufficient numbers to run a program at Tharwa, but I would also remind members that at its absolute peak, when it was operating from preschool to year 6, across seven year levels, Tharwa had 25 enrolments. So it has never been a school with particularly large enrolment, because it is a very small community and there are not a particularly large number of students under the age of five.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question to the relevant minister is: why hasn't the preschool been allowed to occupy the main building on the former Tharwa school site, and is it correct that the reason given was a lack of shelves?

MR BARR: I will have to take some advice in relation to that. I cannot comment on what was said in relation to shelves—I think that is the member's question. I will seek some advice on that. But there are two buildings in the Tharwa precinct. When the facility was operating as a P-6 facility, preschool, kindergarten and year 1 were in one building and years 2, 3, 4 5 and 6 were in the other building. Given the choice of the two, maintaining the early childhood focus where the original preschool was would seem appropriate. But I will take advice in relation to shelving in each of the buildings.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.


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