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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . .

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MS GALLAGHER: I certainly think that there is use in asking the community their views on certain services that they receive and infrastructure projects. I do not have a problem with that. I think it is part of our job to ensure that the community has a say and that we understand the issues, concerns and support. I think that is quite reasonable. I do not have a problem with that. I think it does help to inform debate. It certainly helps us understand what the concerns of the community are and, therefore, we can respond to them. It certainly, in my experience, provides a more balanced response on some of the work underway by the ACT government to what we perhaps hear from those opposite.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Chief Minister, will you table how much has been spent and the results of all telephone polls undertaken by the government in the last 12 months?

MS GALLAGHER: I will undertake to see whether that can be done without expending too much energy and resources on it. If it is an easy question to answer, then I am certainly happy to bring that back to the Assembly.

Education—school chaplaincy program

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, you are on record saying that you have "a very clear policy that schools should be able to choose religious or secular counsellors and the ACT government would not accept the scheme's administration unless this was the case." In question time on Tuesday on school chaplains you said:

Last week I met with Di Priest, who is the organising agency for most of the chaplains in Canberra. She too supports that position.

Minister, we have spoken to Di Priest and she has stated in writing:

We expressed sympathy and concern for the plight of the secular welfare workers ... but we cannot support the outright rejection of the funding for the next four years which will mean 47 schools will be denied the choice and opportunity to provide the additional support in their School Services Team.

Minister, why did you state that Di Priest supported your position to reject all federal funding when she, in her own words, does not?

MS BURCH: I do not think I did say that Di Priest supported rejection of funding. In fact, I said Di Priest, in the conversation, was sympathetic and supportive about the position where schools should have a choice, that chaplains and secular workers should be supported. That was the conversation that I had with Di Priest.

Just to be very clear, I am quite happy to read into the record the letter that I sent to Scott Ryan that goes to my approach to this. The letter goes:


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