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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2006) . . Page.. 3044 ..

MS GALLAGHER: I have received a brief from the Chief Minister. In fact, I can inform the Assembly that I was appointed a shareholder of Rhodium in May, a couple of months after the period that the report looked at. I think it went up to about 13 March. So I was appointed post the Auditor-General’s inquiry. I have had a number of occasions to talk to the Chief Minister about Rhodium and all matters pertaining to it and my duties as a shareholder.

MRS BURKE: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, when did you first become aware of the problems surrounding Rhodium?

MS GALLAGHER: I cannot exactly recall. I imagine it was in a discussion with the Chief Minister at some point. I am not going to give you a date because I cannot give you that date off the top of my head. I think it was brought to my attention by the Chief Minister in a discussion I had with him.


MR SESELJA: My question is to the minister for education and relates to the average cost per student, published as part of the Towards 2020 package. At public forums you acknowledged that the cost per student included the cost of children with special needs. You said that you would publish revised average cost per student figures which would separate the cost of children with special needs. Despite making this undertaking at least twice in June, I understand you still have not made these figures available to the community. Why have you not made these figures available?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. There are a number of issues associated with the provision of such data. Given the small numbers of students within an individual school that would potentially go to identify those individuals and the costs associated with their specific education at a specific site, there are a number of privacy concerns that have to be considered.

The information on the average cost of students with special needs was provided and was discussed in some detail during the estimates process. There are a number of individual school sites where the number of students to whom the data would apply is such that it would not go to identify individuals.

There are also issues about the different nature of special needs and their provision within a mainstream teaching environment or within a special needs unit. The costs overall do not significantly alter the published information that the government has made available in the Towards 2020 web site in considerable detail, breaking down those costs into a variety of different categories.

It is obviously the government’s intention to make as much data as possible available. The array of information that is available on the Towards 2020 web site demonstrates that. The breakdown of costings for each individual school is quite considerable. I am, obviously, taking further advice from the department on our ability to provide the data in a useful way and in a way that will not compromise an individual’s educational needs in terms of the cost provision that is clearly there.

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