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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1215..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

100 per cent consistent with Commissioner Keelty's preferred option will be questioned. That is not the appropriate position for a senior public servant to put a minister in.

MR STEFANIAK: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, will you please, by close of business today, table the exact number of sworn police, of total police numbers in the ACT as at last pay day, according to your own records, and the exact number of how far below the national average we are? If you won't, why won't you?

MR CORBELL: It would be a very long and detailed answer to that question. I think the simplest thing I can say is that I will take the question on notice.

Schools—closures

MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for education. Duffy primary, Weston Creek primary and Rivett primary have been identified in the Department of Education and Training census as all having enrolments below 150 students. Minister, given your emphasis on the number of empty desks at ACT government schools, schools such as those are more likely than schools with high enrolments to be part of the government's hit list for closure. Will you rule out closing all three of those schools as part of your program of school closures?

Mr Stanhope: What would Mr Pratt have done?

MR BARR: That is a very good question, Chief Minister. The Liberal Party does appear to have two positions on school closures. I do note again that Mr Pratt is on record as saying that some schools would have to close. He did say:

It is expensive to operate a school and if it can be merged with another school that is not at capacity and without forcing class sizes to swell, this may be necessary in terms of funding, teacher numbers and the best possible student outcomes ...

I will not be making announcements today. As much as I respect Mrs Burke and her desire to seek information from me, I will not be making announcements today in advance of the budget and the package of reforms that I will be announcing in coming months.

MRS BURKE: Minister, what would you say now to those residents of the northern suburbs of Weston Creek who may be feeling with fear and trepidation that their primary school may close? Would you say that they may be left without a primary school to service their needs?

MR BARR: I will be saying to those residents that my objective as education minister is to ensure that the children of Weston Creek get the best possible public education that they can. I will be engaging with those communities with a view to seeing how we can best devote education resources to ensure, as I say, the best possible student outcomes.

That applies across the territory. We need to be cognisant of the fact that we have to supply a package of public education across all the suburbs of this city and that we need to ensure that those educational outcomes are of the highest possible standard. So my considered position will be to go to all of those communities where there may be a need


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