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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 1980 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

It was Charnwood High School. What did they do? They raised money for farmers who were having trouble keeping their body and soul together on the land. What did they do? They approached every business in Belconnen. They organised a fashion parade. They organised an MC. They organised music. They organised the MLAs. They got us to make fools of ourselves and give lots of money.

This is the school we are talking about. This is a living, vibrant school that has a here and now. This is a school that is facing closure because this Government will not take the issue seriously, will not offer serious options, and will plod ahead with this move, saying, "Well, if the community wants it". I am here to tell you today that I listened to the community last night and they do not want it, thank you very much. They want to be treated as a viable - - -

Mrs Carnell: Exactly the same as everyone else.

MS McRAE: They are perfectly happy to be treated - - -

Mrs Carnell: Exactly the same as everyone else.

MS McRAE: Thank you, Mrs Carnell, for that interjection because they would agree with every word. Of course they want to be treated like everyone else. But how can they possibly operate as a small school with a new program without even six months' lead time to prepare a new program? Tell me that Stirling College and Narrabundah Primary School are treated like everyone else.

Mrs Carnell: They have had 12 months.

Mr Humphries: Two years.

Mrs Carnell: That is right, two years of - - -

MS McRAE: It is just nonsense on your part. You have threatened them. You have put the axe over their head. Nobody two years ago told them that they would close. Nowhere was there a decree from Bill Wood that this school would close. Your decree has come now. There are four options, one of which says that the school will close. There is no opportunity to prepare for a new program and the community is angry, and I think they have every right to be angry. They are losing a valuable community centre. They understand fully what that means for Charnwood and they are doubly disappointed that not only was an offer made but it was transparently useless. All the four options lead up to is, "You close. Just close. Goodbye. Thank you very much. Off you go".

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (10.56): For starters, the options do not do that. I attended a meeting, as you know, Ms McRae, about two weeks ago with a number of people - - -

Mr Berry: What about last night, Bill? You should have had the guts to turn up at the public meeting.

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