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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3236 ..

The public debate so far has included a variety of new structures and teaching models: an online ACT education portal where students mix and match courses from across institutions; an option to make training funding more contestable and easier for more providers to access; greater independence for the Canberra Institute of Technology; partnerships between schools and higher and vocational education and training providers, such as those recently announced between the University of Canberra, Lake Ginninderra college, and Kaleen high school; a polytechnic at the University of Canberra; and foundation degrees—a vocational qualification designed in partnership with industry.

I am sure that we will hear even more good ideas over the coming months. We are not just listening and investing though, Madam Assistant Speaker. We are delivering outcomes for ACT students and the ACT economy. I certainly warmly endorse the budget initiatives in the Canberra Institute of Technology line this year and hope that all members will be able to support this worthwhile investment in skills and training in the territory.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.23—Exhibition Park Corporation—$370,000 (net cost of outputs) and $3,060,000 (capital injection), totalling $3,430,000.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12:53 am): Exhibition Park Corporation has been somewhat of a political football over the last couple of years. We saw the ill-fated attempts by Minister Barr to drag Exhibition Park into TAMS and his equally flawed attempts to stack the board of the corporation with public servants; and we remember that he was not able to count how many people he should have appointed to that board. There have been a number of matters to mention.

What I would like to do, though, is start by acknowledging the sterling work of the former General Manager, Mr Tony Sadler, in building up the commercial activities at EPIC. He has taken his leave of the service and retired. We all wish him well in retirement and we look forward to working with his replacement, Ms Liz Clarke.

The issue of EPIC remaining as a statutory authority I think is well known to all in this place, and during the estimates we had to raise the misleading statement in the government’s budget papers for the 2010 budget about the corporation. On page 493 of budget paper 4 there is the incorrect statement:

The Government subsequently retained EPC as a stand-alone Statutory Authority with its own budget.

It is couched nicely to make it look like it was all the government’s work. But the statement is nonsense; it was actioned by the Canberra Liberals in the Assembly to defeat the downgrading of the corporation. The government did not retain the corporation; it was told by the Assembly to retain it. But certainly there has been no apology for this mislead and no correction as yet. There were a number of matters with the appointment of the board. We are certainly disappointed with the antics of Mr Barr and his hand-picked former board—that had too many members.

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