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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 1028..

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (6.34): I would like to thank members for their ongoing interest in this issue. The motion was brought forward in a genuine attempt to address the needs that have been expressed to the opposition and in the media that there are still those who would like to see the recovery centre remain open for a further period of time. We acknowledge that it must close at some stage, and it should close at some stage.

There is a signal that another phase has been entered into. The whole purpose of the motion, though, was to give a number of residents who still have some concerns some time to come to grips with what will be a significant change for them.

I would like to close by saying once again that all on this side of the house have nothing but admiration for what has occurred at the recovery centre. The efforts of the staff over the last 14 months to get the survivors of the firestorm in January last year to where they are at this stage have been nothing short of magnificent. The model that they set is absolutely fantastic, as is the way in which they carried out that work. It is an absolute credit to the standard of professionalism in the ACT public service, and I can only offer them all our thanks.

I am surprised at the reaction of the government. The message clearly has not got out that there are still concerns out there. We look forward to seeing or hearing on the last sitting day of May what the government consultation has revealed and what proposed further arrangements for bushfire recovery have been put in place. I thank members for their interest in this important subject, and I thank them for the debate that has occurred today.

Question put:

That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 8

Noes 7

Mrs Burke

Mrs Dunne

Mr Berry

Mr Quinlan

Mr Cornwell

Mr Pratt

Mr Corbell

Mr Stanhope

Mrs Cross

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Wood

Ms Dundas

Ms Tucker

Ms MacDonald

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Vocational and higher education students

MS MacDONALD (6.39): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises the high level of vocational and higher education student debt in the A.C.T. and throughout Australia;

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