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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1388 ..

MR DOSZPOT: A supplementary, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you table before the close of business today your department’s anti-bullying policy statement? If not, why not?

MS BURCH: You have all adopted Mr Smyth’s “if not, why not” but I am quite happy to bring our department’s policy down.

Schools—commonwealth funding

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, I refer to the commonwealth funding for schools. Minister, can you assure the Assembly that no project funded under the BER in the ACT has seen a final price which is well above the industry stand for such construction?

MR BARR: Yes, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, are you aware of the call from the New South Wales Teachers Federation asking for a public inquiry into that, and have you had similar concerns raised with you?

MR BARR: Yes, I am aware of that New South Wales call. It was in the media. I, like most people in this place, do consume the media from time to time. So, yes, I was aware of that claim. The Deputy Prime Minister in fact was asked a series of questions on the 7.30 Report in relation to that particular claim and was quite clear about the range of processes that are in place in relation to the BER program in terms of auditing that is occurring both at a national and at a jurisdictional level.

I have every reason to have confidence in the process here in the ACT. I believe that we will be the first jurisdiction to complete all of our projects in the national school pride program. At this stage, subject to new advice, we will be the first to complete all of our projects under the primary schools for the 21st century program. I think it is clear that, in a jurisdiction of our size, we are very well placed to deliver capital works programs of this nature. Particularly in the context of the ACT government’s investment in capital works, our capital works division within the Department of Education and Training are capable and have demonstrated their capability to deliver these sorts of projects. We are building a new school in this city each year for the next two, and we have completed two. So four years, four new schools, more than $200 million worth of investment in new schools, half a billion dollars worth of investment in our public education system, the single largest investment in education in this territory’s history. And I am so pleased that the opposition have finally recognised this.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Minister, how have you satisfied yourself that all of the costs associated with the BER are reasonable and will you table the documentation which has allowed you to come to this conclusion?

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