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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2005 ..

MR WOOD: We had supplementation. The supplementation is now being taken away by the current Government. We recognised that problem and we provided the assistance to help them through, to carry them through. We recognised that this was a program that needed to be done for a number of years.

Guess what else we did. As part of my thinking in another capacity, as Minister for Planning, we expedited the development of West Belconnen, specifically Dunlop. We promoted that over other areas so that this would provide an enrolment base for Charnwood High School. That is what we did. It was something very positive and definite. I think there is no more substantial thing we could have done than that. What else did we do? We designated Charnwood High School as the holding school for Gungahlin high school students and we provided a bus to carry those students. In the end that did not turn out to be successful, let me say; but we had the intention, we had the program, and we did that. So do not give me this nonsense about not responding to the needs of Charnwood High School. That is what it is - just nonsense.

There is one thing that we would not do, and the teachers union requested it. We would not draw boundaries. We would not say to parents that they had to send their child to that school. It has been a long established and valued principle in the ACT that students have freedom of enrolment. That is the only step that we did not take. And what is this Government now doing? It is rejecting all that careful work we have done to look after Charnwood High School and it wants to push it off the cliff at the end of this year.

The other furphy was that we closed Griffith Primary School. Let me tell you about that. Griffith Primary School enrolments moved from 170 or 180 students - I am going on memory here; it was well into the hundreds - down to 30 and below in a matter of weeks. Certainly, it had been in a state of enrolment decline over a considerable period; but there was a catastrophic change - nothing similar to what has been happening at Charnwood. There were particular circumstances involved with that school that have no application to Charnwood High School.

Let us look at the program that the Government has revealed here today in respect of school closures. It is a very clearly identified program. It was Mr Humphries who said that we should not supplement failing schools. Those were his words. I wrote them down. He put the condemnation on Charnwood High School instantly by using the word "failing". "We should not supplement them", he said. Mr Hird got up - - -

Mr Moore: Come on, Bill; Kate read the words from Hansard.

MR WOOD: I will embarrass you further in a little while, Mr Moore. I would not say anything if I were you. Mr Hird got up and said, "It was nice and dandy"; that is, they were going well with this closure program until the meeting last night when he thought the Opposition members stepped in. Mrs Carnell and Mr Humphries talked about the budget. They say, "We cannot afford this". Mr Kaine, Mr Humphries and, I think,

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