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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1838..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

which each of us in government has pursued. It is a behaviour that is unsustainable. As a consequence, it is imperative that we fund the fiscal gap by ensuring that the services that we deliver are paid for by the community through the charges that are levied in their myriad forms.

You can deny this. You can campaign at the next election on a return to the old days. You can campaign on the basis that you are happy to return to the Australian accounting standards. You can campaign, if you wish, at the next election on the basis that you will reopen schools that will be closed. You can campaign at the next election, if you wish, on a return to the old superannuation arrangements. You can campaign, if you wish, on a return to a 20 per cent provision of health services above the national average or you can stand up tomorrow, in the Leader of the Opposition's response to the budget, and tell us that you will not be doing those things.

In the response tomorrow we will expect the Leader of the Opposition to give the basis on which you will deal with these issues and the basis on which you will campaign in the next election. Will we be returning to 20 per cent above the national average across the board? Will you return to those days? Will you reopen the schools that will be closed? Will you undo the reconfiguration of the education system? Will you return the superannuation arrangements that we have changed? Will you be doing that or will you be making whatever political gain you can make out of the fact that we as a government have taken the hard decisions which you, in seven years of government, did not take and could not deliver?

Mr Smyth: Kaine tried, Carnell tried, Humphries tried. And Labor voted against them.

MR STANHOPE: Here they are, saying that we stopped them. In other words, you did not have the capacity, the will or the fortitude to take the decisions that needed to be taken. You did not have the capacity to produce the vision and to engage the people of Canberra in your vision.

Schools-closures

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Barr. Minister, the aim of your schools rationalisation program seems not to be about saving money but, to quote from the document, "to provide a range of strong life pathways toward further studies and rewarding careers". Minister, across the budget, how much will you expend on your schools rationalisation plan and what savings will be made from this plan?

MR BARR: I thank the shadow minister for, effectively, giving me the opportunity to deliver my answer to a dorothy dixer. As I say, the government is deeply committed to public education and to providing all students in the territory with the highest possible quality education. As I have said, the public education system needs reform. We have outlined a proposal for that reform.

It is important to acknowledge that the system that we have is largely a product of the 1970s and is one that does not keep up with changing demographics and changing community expectations. It is the government's desire to see a significant investment in the physical infrastructure of schools. We announced yesterday in the budget that there


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