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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1143..


MR STEFANIAK: Thanks, Minister. Ms Gallagher, is this then a case of a right-wing Treasurer come shareholder trying to stop a left-wing industrial relations minister from listening to workers, or simply a case of the left wing of the Labor Party not knowing what the right is doing?

MS GALLAGHER: Do I have to answer that?

MR SPEAKER: It is up to you, Minister.

MS GALLAGHER: This is quite scary for everybody, including some elements of the Labor Party, but the right and left are working together on this issue.

Outdoor education

MR PRATT: My question is to the minister for eduction. I understand that the primary school outdoor program, which was disrupted as a consequence of the destruction of Birrigai, is to be temporarily transferred to Dairy Flat. Minister, can you explain how Dairy Flat, an agricultural centre which is currently used to help students of a disruptive nature, which contains little, if any, natural bushland and which is in proximity to busy roads and an industrial area, is going to serve outdoor education objectives?

MS GALLAGHER: I know that this is an area of interest to you, Mr Pratt. In terms of issues between the shadow education minister and the education minister, it is certainly the one that is taking your interest.

We made a decision about Dairy Flat because we own the facility and we can get it going very quickly. We know that it is a safe environment for children, which, in looking at outdoor education, is a very significant issue. In relation to running several programs out there, I do not have a problem with running an outdoor education program for children who have mainstream educational opportunities alongside students who do not participate in that way for one reason or another. I do not see that as a big problem. Certainly, the education department does not see it as a big problem. In fact, it could be a positive thing if you look at it in that way. I hope that it will be.

There are some differences of opinion on whether the Dairy Flat-Jerrabomberra Wetlands area offers opportunities for young people. I think it does. It is not Tidbinbilla and it is not Namadgi, but it does offer opportunities for young people. As I said in a press release, it is a short-term measure. I am getting significant representations, as no doubt you are, about the rebuilding of Birrigai. There has been much emphasis on students not missing out and we are conscious of that. This was one way of addressing the measure in the short term while we all work on the long term. I think the right decision has been taken.

I know that there are some discussions to be had with Outward Bound. I am advised that those discussions are ongoing. This is not the end of the road; it is just one opportunity that we are putting in place to get going. I will be meeting with Outward Bound. I have not met with them previously-they have been having discussions with the department-but I have a meeting scheduled with Outward Bound to talk through some of the issues that have come up through this process.


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