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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2134..


MR BARR (continuing):

Dr Foskey. In simple terms, even if you accept Dr Foskey's figures, the cost differential is still very significant.

The question is why. What is it about those particular schools that they attract a subsidy for no reason other than that they are small? This is the simple point we are seeking to address here. It is about directing education resources where they need to go, not on the basis of the size of a school but on the basis of educational need, on the basis of socioeconomic need. They are the real issues that need to be addressed. This spurious argument of Dr Foskey, in seeking to manipulate figures in the quite blatant way that she has just done, is an outrageous attempt to distort what the real issues are in this debate. It is something that she should be ashamed of.

DR FOSKEY: I ask the minister a supplementary question. I stand here without shame to ask the minister: can he therefore guarantee that every other figure and so-called fact and every other piece of information that he has on his web site and that he has spoken about in the hearings of the estimates committee and in this house are absolutely correct?

MR BARR: Yes.

Schools-closures

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. In the Towards 2020 proposal there is a suggestion for a stand-alone years 5 to 8 middle school as part of the Melba cluster. Members should note that a stand-alone middle school is unprecedented in the ACT. Minister, given your considerable educational experience, what research did you rely upon in deciding to go down this unprecedented path?

MR BARR: The ACT education department undertook a particular study into middle schooling. That study, which is available on the departmental web site, formed the basis for the proposal to have a years 5 to 8 school as part of the Melba cluster.

MRS DUNNE: It is not a stand-alone middle school.

Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. What indication of support or otherwise have you received from the Melba community for this unprecedented proposal?

MR BARR: There has been considerable comment on a whole variety of the proposals that the government has put forward. Mrs Dunne, not surprisingly there are views for and against. It is a proposal we are having a discussion about. This is something that mature people can do but clearly there is no maturity on the other side of the house.

Taxis-licences

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services. Can the minister tell the Assembly what interest there has been in the latest ballot for new taxi licences?

Mr Stefaniak: No interest.

Mrs Dunne: It depends on whether the voice recognition system works, doesn't it?


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