Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 2962 ..
Mr Humphries: It would be nothing new.
MR MOORE: But then, as Mr Humphries interjects, that would simply be nothing new. I sympathise with the sentiment Ms Tucker has put forward and why it is that she has moved this motion. I would urge the Minister to look carefully again at those programs at Birrigai and to ensure that those programs are able to be continued in a reasonable and rational way. Do not separate a set of notes and think that that is the program. It is not the program. It is how it is taught, how it is delivered, that is the critical issue; how the teachers at Birrigai work with teachers from other schools to enhance the environmental education that is going on in a range of schools in the Australian Capital Territory. That is what it is about, and I think that is the sentiment behind this motion. Inasmuch as that is the case, I support it. Inasmuch as it is a matter of dictating to the Government that they cannot do something they already have in their budget, I cannot be part of undermining a piece of legislation that has already passed, much as it irks me.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (12.02): I note with interest Mr Moore's comments. Indeed, it would be hypocritical if the Labor Opposition supported this motion, because of the attempts to close the centre back in 1989 by Mr Whalan, as Mr Moore indicated. All this Government is trying to do is to make sure that the centre operates more efficiently.
I have some sympathy with what Ms Tucker said about what has happened in the past in relation to Birrigai. The centre has been run jointly. The Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing currently manages the facility and the Department of Education runs its outdoor school on the site. Use of the centre is split between the Department of Education and Training, who utilise the centre for 38 weeks per year, Monday to Friday, and the bureau, who book the remaining part of the year to community groups. Quite clearly, there are better ways of doing it. Speaking with my sports hat on now, the bureau are certainly quite happy to get out of the running of their part of it. As to who will run it, applications for tender were announced in the newspaper on Saturday, closing on 9 January, I think. So the tender process has started. That is important, along with the points Mr Moore raised about the Government's budget and the Government's program.
It is interesting that it is accepted by the Government that the education program will need to continue at Birrigai. We want it to continue. It is, as Ms Tucker quite clearly says, a valuable resource, and that is something we accept. I have some sympathy for part of her motion too, and I flag at this stage that I will probably be moving an amendment to it. Certainly, the Government is keen to continue the outdoor school there, run by the Department of Education; it is so keen, in fact, if I could digress for a moment, that that is set out in the conditions for takeover of the management of the centre. It is made quite clear to anyone who might be interested in taking over the centre that the ACT Department of Education and Training, through the Birrigai Outdoor School, provides programs of educational and cultural value to schools, both government and non-government, and adult groups from the ACT and interstate. These programs include extending and enhancing the curriculum through, firstly, focused environmental education programs and, secondly, stimulating and challenging experiences and simulations in