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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 462..


Mr Smyth: Where are your ideas?

Mrs Burke: "We don't have any, so we'll ask people."

MR QUINLAN: Are you saying we should not have consulted?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Resume your seat, Mr Quinlan. I won't stand any more of these interjections, and it is no more in order to respond to them. So answer the question and we will move on.

MR QUINLAN: To repeat myself, Mr Speaker, it is now incumbent on those, in particular the critics, to come forward. It is not a case of their saying it is badly written; they are saying it has not got enough in it. I expect the Chamber of Commerce, and others, to come forward with a positive contribution to it.

While I am on my feet, Mr Speaker, may I refer back to the question on the timing of the white paper. The one qualification I would put on my previous answer is that I have to dovetail with the Canberra plan, so I have got some time constraints.

Education-class sizes

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for education. Minister, can you confirm that the ACT government is still committed to reducing class sizes, in order to improve student-teacher contact times? And can you confirm that you will not be taking any decisions that would violate these principles?

MS GALLAGHER: The answer is yes.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, given your response, will you explain why schools such as Farrer Primary School are advising parents that classes are to be amalgamated, including the introduction of composite classes?

MS GALLAGHER: The reduction in classes sizes K-3 initiative is continuing through the schools. We have employed 86 new teachers this year, to meet the needs of the additional classes. In relation to Farrer, I am not privy to what is going on in that school. What you have alluded to, I can undertake to find out. It is my understanding that composite classes are not that unusual in schools; that they don't often have additional teachers and that the number of children can still be met through the reduction in class sizes initiative. However, I would need to look at the detail of what you are raising.

Ambulance dispatch system

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the minister for emergency services, Mr Wood. Minister, could you update the Assembly on the progress of the implementation of the new ambulance dispatch system?

MR WOOD: I will report to you in detail later. I do not have the details with me. I will get back to you on them.


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