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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 547..


Housing-rent

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I wish to elaborate a little on the question from Mrs Burke. We are considering the issue she raised about the increase in rents, but we are much constrained, as I indicated, by the program. It is part of the Housing Assistance Act, which really requires us to charge market rents-with all the concessions that might go with that, mind you. On one sample that we did at Uriarra, five of eight tenants who have been relocated pay the same or less rent, one pays $2.30 a week more rent and two pay full market rent on the basis of the household income.

Education-class sizes

MS GALLAGHER: Yesterday, during question time, Mrs Burke asked me a question in relation to Farrer Primary School and composite classes and class reductions. I have some more information on that. All schools are required to have 23 or less in K-3 in 2003 and 21 in 2004 as part of the government policy, an initiative very much welcomed by the entire school community, I might add. There are composite classes at Farrer Primary School. There is a K-1 class with 23 enrolments and a 1-2 class with 22 enrolments, so it is in line with government policy.

Volunteers-workers compensation

MS GALLAGHER: Last sitting week, Mr Stefaniak asked me a question about WorkCover and volunteers under section 19 of the Workers Compensation Act. WorkCover does not make rulings in relation to the operation of the Workers Compensation Act. The role of WorkCover is to provide advice on the operation of the act and, where necessary, to enforce the obligations imposed by the act on participants in the scheme. The Chief Minister's Department advises the government on policy matters.

Section 19 of the act is clear in that the status of a volunteer is not affected by any payment for expenses. Section 19 states that a volunteer is a person who receives no payment for the work performed, apart from payment for expenses. WorkCover has advised me that they have not provided any generic advice in relation to public interest volunteers, but rather have dealt with each situation on a case by case basis.

Personal explanations

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming): Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation under standing order 46 regarding Standing Committee on Public Accounts report No 4, March 2003, which relates to Appropriation Bill 2002-2003 (No 2).

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: The report, while discussing budgeting for unusual emergency circumstances or situations, contains in paragraph 3 (8) the statement:

Unfortunately, the Treasurer treated this subject rather casually suggesting that the time to take action was "when we get to exceptional circumstances". While this


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