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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 2926 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Turning to another issue, recently I received a genuine complaint about future attention to Hall cemetery, about how it ought to be looked after, mowed, and all those sorts of things. I took the trouble to go out and have a look and I found what I suspected to be a lovely covering of native grass with an undercover of beautiful native flowers, none of which I was able to identify, I have to say. Other people are better at that than I am. Those who would claim they are greener than I am might be able to recognise them, but I could not. After I had noticed that there was some tape around the headstones and the area was mowed only within the tape, I made some inquiries. I discovered that the reason for that was that a rare species of orchid had been discovered in the cemetery. Last year 20 of these rare species had been discovered there. This year there are 80. That was something to be quite happy about. They are at Hall and in the ACT.

Those little things, which we sometimes take for granted, have to be treasured, and I am sure that that is the emphasis of this report. I congratulate those members of the Assembly who were involved in it. I trust, if it is taken note of, that the future of this Territory's grand environment not only will be protected but also will be enhanced for future generations of Territorians along with the rest of Australia.

Debate (on motion by Ms Horodny) adjourned.

Report on Inquiry into Voluntary Parent Contribution Scheme

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (5.32): Mr Speaker, I present report No. 11 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled "The Voluntary Parent Contribution Scheme in the Australian Capital Territory School System", together with extracts from the minutes, and I move:

That the report be noted.

This report is the product of an inquiry which has engaged the attention of the committee over the past seven months. I would like to thank my colleagues Mr Kaine and Ms Horodny for their support on this inquiry during the course of a year which has put significant pressures on the committee. Members will be aware that this is the eleventh report of the Public Accounts Committee for this year, and all of those reports have been fairly substantial pieces of work, so this has been a very busy committee. We have met just about every week and we have been, as always, vastly assisted in our work by our committee secretariat, particularly Mr Bill Symington, the committee secretary.

Mr Speaker, this issue was a contentious one before and during the 1995 ACT election. It had been raised originally by the schools community itself - I think it was by the P and C association - and it was the subject of one of the many public meetings called by various community interests during the last election campaign. I think it is fair to say that out of that debate no clear direction emerged for an incoming government on the issue of voluntary fees.

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