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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3160 ..

Madam Assistant Speaker, as has been learnt through the commonwealth government’s experience, whole-of-government contracts presuppose a certain degree of scalability to qualify for such contracts. As we are an economy of small businesses, the government needs to consider the implications of this decision further. (Second speaking period taken.) For example, by increasing such things as the production rate requirement—square metres cleaned per man hour for cleaning contracts—small businesses may not even qualify for this tender.

Our concerns are warranted as we have already received representations from small businesses regarding this issue. When small businesses form the bedrock of our economy, we must be mindful that this segment of our private sector does not fall victim to Mr Barr’s financial rationalisation agenda to make up for ACT Labor’s lack of fiscal prudence.

The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting this unreliable, unbelievable, anti-family and poorly prioritised budget. It is a budget that is fiscally irresponsible. It is a budget that is inaccurate. It is a budget that is not transparent. It is a budget that contains much wasteful spending. And it is, of course, a budget with high taxes. This budget is anti family. Overall, it is a budget based not on rigour and what is in the best interests of our community but on the personal priorities of ministers. One needs to look no further than the arboretum as an example of this indulgence.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (8:15): This budget shows that the government are continuing to listen and to invest and deliver in education. We are delivering more than just services; we are delivering outcomes for students. I said today in question time that the old way in education was what I call the poker machine approach to education—putting an extra dollar in and hoping, with taxpayers as mug punters gambling on students’ futures. Well, the poker machine approach to education is over. Tonight I will outline what we have delivered in the last year and what we will deliver through our investments in 2010-11.

Since last year we have delivered on teacher quality, better classrooms, smaller class sizes and new ways to teach and learn. In the area of teacher quality, we have negotiated a fair enterprise bargaining agreement with teachers during difficult economic times. For the first time, this EBA has performance review periods to enhance teacher professional development. We have begun establishing the new accomplished teacher and leading teacher classifications.

We are delivering over half a billion dollars worth of the new capital works—great new facilities to teach and learn, including new libraries, halls, gyms, performing arts centres and classrooms. We are building new schools where they are needed most. We are delivering lower average class sizes. Last year’s budget invested $28 million, and this year we were able to recruit 70 extra teachers. We have delivered on our election commitment to lower average class sizes to 21 in primary schools and high schools and 19 in colleges. We have invested $6 million for new and refurbished classrooms to fit these smaller classes. We have already delivered completed works at 10 schools, with works underway at a further 11.

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