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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (15 November) . . Page.. 3520..


MR BARR (continuing):

assets that are movable, such as computers. My understanding is that investments that are fixed and based on a particular school site are being held over until the conclusion of the consultation process when decisions have been made.

Obviously, we welcome commonwealth government investment of money in public education in the ACT. We would like to see considerably more. I think it is a great pity that over the last decade the commonwealth government has not invested more money in public education in the ACT. So whilst we acknowledge that there are some difficulties at the moment in relation to investment in fixed assets, as opposed to particular assets that may be movable, we will at the conclusion of the consultation process, and once decisions have been taken, be able to ensure that the ACT does not miss out on any funding. Should there be projects that the commonwealth wishes to fund in ACT government schools, we will continue to welcome that investment.

MRS DUNNE: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, what approach are you taking to fixed assets that are already fixed in schools that may close? I give as examples the carpet provided by investing in our schools at Melrose primary, the cabling at Giralang primary and the cabling and upgrading of classrooms at Cook primary school. What arrangement have you come to with the commonwealth, and do you have to return that money to the commonwealth if it is fixed?

MR BARR: Again, my understanding is that once the commonwealth have funded those particular projects and that money is spent, we will not be able to undo the cabling, if you like. Those facilities, depending on the potential future use, may still be available for other organisations.

As I have indicated to the Assembly previously, the process, once a school is no longer required by the education department as an educational facility, is that the building, the infrastructure, would be transferred to the Department of Territory and Municipal Services as a surplus government asset. What happens to particular infrastructure beyond that point is a matter for that department.

Environment-carbon trading

MS MacDONALD: My question is to Mr Stanhope in his capacity as Chief Minister. Could the Chief Minister report to the Legislative Assembly on the progress which has been made by the national emissions trading task force set up by the states and territories in 2005 and detail the comprehensive discussion paper released by him, Chief Minister Martin and premiers in August of this year?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question-a very important and, indeed, timely one. Yesterday, I welcomed the Prime Minister's about-face, the backflip which the Prime Minister and the commonwealth have now done on carbon trading, encapsulated in the Prime Minister's announcement of a decision to appoint a task force on the issue of carbon emissions trading. I must say that that was a major shift, perhaps the most significant, dramatic and sudden shift in Liberal Party thinking and philosophy around climate change-indeed, any policy issue imaginable. Perhaps there will have been no greater backflip than the backflip we will see when the Prime Minister announces the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq, which will be perhaps a backflip of greater significance than the backflip which the Prime


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