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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 May 1993) . . Page.. 1601 ..


MS FOLLETT: Put simply, Madam Speaker, this is a discussion paper. Again, there is a genuine commitment on the part of this Government that that discussion paper will be a matter on which we will consult and on which we will listen to people's views. But Mr De Domenico has asked particularly how it might work if there were, say, some form of government or administration representation on bodies. Madam Speaker, the intent of that would be purely and simply to make sure that debate was informed and that consultation and a two-way flow of communication were facilitated.

I think that Mr De Domenico displays all of the cynicism about community consultation for which his party is now infamous, because quite clearly the Liberals would not have a bar of this kind of arrangement. They have no interest whatsoever in actually finding out what people think and then acting upon it. I think that that is a very major difference between the style of Labor in government and the style of the Liberals in government. We have had an opportunity to observe them in government. Just bear in mind the amount of consultation that took place on their plan to close 25 Canberra schools. None whatsoever. They announced it and then, having realised their error, they rapidly had to backtrack and arrange some form of consultation. Of course, in the course of the consultation they were soundly defeated in their blind ideological rush to close down 25 Canberra schools. They have always put the cart before the horse, and they have no concept whatsoever of what it means to actually enter into a dialogue with the community and to facilitate that communication.

MR DE DOMENICO: I ask a supplementary question, Madam Speaker. Given the Chief Minister's commitment to funding groups in the 1993-94 budget, which groups will be funded, and how much money will be involved?

MS FOLLETT: Madam Speaker, I will not be drawn on budget matters - I have said so repeatedly - no matter how hard members opposite try.

School Closures

MS SZUTY: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister for Education and Training, Mr Wood. This Assembly and the community are aware of the Government's commitment:

Labor will guarantee that no further schools will be closed in the next three years.

My question of the Minister is: What preventive measures will the Government take to protect schools from closure so that the circumstances surrounding the closure of Griffith Primary School will not be repeated during this term of government?

MR WOOD: Madam Speaker, I think the Chief Minister has already answered that question, or a very significant part of it. We talk to the community. Let me indicate that I was very careful with Griffith Primary School. That school has been suspended for the remainder of this year. I will go back to that school community. I have been in touch with the P and C Association, which continues. They have been given a document asking for the views of the parents in that area on the future.


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