Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 632 ..
MS McRAE: My question is directed to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education and Training. Since the Government's plan to close Charnwood High School has been around since September 1995, why is it that a discussion paper on the future of the building will not be available until May?
MR STEFANIAK: Thank you for that question. In relation to the use of the Charnwood site, a number of proposals have been suggested. I understand that there are a number of groups which are interested in use of the building; that has to be considered. I think Ms McRae might be confusing that with the Charnwood suburb redevelopment, which relates to a housing project affecting the 26 per cent of properties in Charnwood that are owned by the Government.
MS McRAE: No, I am not. Mr Speaker, by way of a supplementary question: I asked a very specific question. The Minister announced that there would be a discussion paper in May. I want to know why it is not being issued for public comment until May. Is it the fact that the Minister wants the building to be dilapidated and vandalised so that he can bulldoze it?
MR STEFANIAK: Hardly. What incredible hypocrisy!
Mrs Carnell: What about Holder High?
Mr Humphries: Take the foot out of the mouth!
MR SPEAKER: Order! Government members will contain themselves. I am sure that the Minister can deal with it.
MR STEFANIAK: This is from the former Government that let Holder High lie fallow for many, many years. Ms McRae, I think you are confusing that with the housing matter which will be out for consultation soon. I understand that May is certainly the date for that.
What is happening in relation to the building, Ms McRae, is that this Government is looking at a number of options. We are looking at a number of groups which are interested in using the building. We are well aware of the problems of Holder High and the concern that raises in the community. We are well aware of the problems of vandalism if the site is left for too long. There are several interesting proposals which are being put forward at present. There are, hopefully, some more. We want to be in a position to make a decision as quickly as possible. We also want to take into account community concerns. I think May is a lot sooner than the three years or more that it took for anything to happen with Holder High. Indeed, it was this Government that finally caused something to happen with the old Holder High School site. Ms McRae, we are well aware of the problems of leaving a building to lie fallow; so we are looking at ways in which that building can be used. There are several exciting proposals which are being put forward at present; hopefully, there will be some more. We want to be in a position to proceed with the use of that site at the earliest reasonable opportunity.