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

Page.. 3248..


have 128 schools; only 50 schools participate in the program. Of those 56 schools, 31 have a chaplain and 25 have a secular welfare worker. So it is very clear that schools value that choice. Very clearly, schools value the choice. This has been administered from the federal government since the beginning.

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition will come to order. I want to hear Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Very clearly, schools have welcomed the choice. The school communities have welcomed the choice. I do not think it is unreasonable—

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MS BURCH: There will not be any choice. In response to the interjection of Mr Doszpot, there will not be a choice.

MADAM SPEAKER: Don't respond to the interjections.

MS BURCH: The federal government are denying the choice of schools. They are changing the parameters of the program as it is now. It is the federal government—

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! The members of the opposition will come to order.

MS BURCH: that is denying our community the choice. I would have thought that we here in the chamber could have had respect and regard, and I do, for the chaplaincy program and for the work they do. But I also would have thought that we should have respect and regard for all schools. If they choose a secular worker, we should be supported to do that.

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, I warn you.

MS BURCH: What I hear from the Canberra Liberals is "chaplains, fine; secular workers, sacked, gone".

Infrastructure—proposed new convention centre

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Minister, yesterday you claimed in this place that the impact of the deferral of the convention centre on future visitor numbers would be "none". Yet on budget day you claimed that the Australia forum "has the potential to provide a truly world-class convention facility that will allow the ACT to attract more business tourism and grow our economy". Mr David Marshall of the Canberra Business Council claimed that "the


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