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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5028 ..

MS HUNTER: Thank you. Minister, can you tell the Assembly whether the requirements governing the use of toxic and environmentally friendly materials in ACT buildings and ACT schools represent international best practice in health, safety and sustainability?

MR BARR: That is a very technical question. I would have to go and have a look at all of those. It would not surprise members that that level of detail around the different natures and what one might interpret as international best practice might be something that is contested. I will have to seek some advice on a question of that technicality and that detail.

Education—disability funding

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The recent state of our schools survey by the AEU conclusively showed that “additional support for students with disabilities and behavioural issues” was a factor considered by ACT teachers to assist in student outcomes. And this has been a recurring consideration over the last few years. Minister, was it responsible for your department to look for cuts in the areas of support for disabled students prior to looking for cuts to the departmental car fleet?

MR BARR: There are a number of statements in Mr Doszpot’s question that are just outright distortions of the process that the department undertook. Mr Doszpot should know better than to come into this place and make statements like that which have no basis in fact. If Mr Doszpot actually understood the processes that the department went through, and if he had any understanding of the number of positions that are available within central office in each of those areas, he would recognise that it would not be possible to achieve a one per cent efficiency dividend by only looking at the areas that Mr Doszpot has identified. There simply are not enough staff in those areas to achieve this. Mr Doszpot has conveniently, in a number of his statements in this place, sought to suggest that you could achieve an efficiency dividend of one per cent in the central office without looking at any positions at all that were outside corporate and human services.

The department looked extensively across all of the services that it provides, with one important proviso—that school budgets would be quarantined from the efficiency dividend. The impact of that is that, in effect, a one per cent efficiency dividend for the Department of Education and Training, taken across the totality of the department’s work, equates to a seven per cent efficiency dividend within central office once school budgets are quarantined. The overwhelming majority of expense within the Department of Education and Training occurs within schools. Central office is a very small component of that, about 500 staff out of 4½ thousand—4,610, to be precise. So the budget papers were clear. When we voted for the budget for the Department of Education and Training back in June, the number of positions would be reduced from 4,645 to 4,610. Through that process, the department has consulted widely and has finalised its position in relation to the efficiency dividend and it is now being processed.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Doszpot?

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