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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1052 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

But now we are asked by the current Minister to believe that there is no problem; that all those people who are expressing concern - the P and C associations, the unions, the schools - were somehow misinformed, did not know what they were talking about and were deluding themselves. Mr Speaker, I do not believe that.

Mr Stefaniak: That is a misrepresentation of what the response is, Rosemary, if you read it properly.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, the Government's first line in its response states:

With the 1995-96 Budget, the Government has honoured its commitment to maintain education funding in real terms over the life of this Government.

That is not true. Mr Speaker, we had this debate over and over again in the course of the 1995-96 budget debate. I would have thought it would be blatantly apparent to the Government that a majority of members in this Assembly do not believe that statement. They just make it again blandly - "Black is white; there is no problem; everyone else is wrong, and it is all their fault anyway; and the Government has got it right". They are saying that, of the entire Canberra community, the Government alone has got it right. I do not believe that.

Mr Speaker, we saw the Minister in his response also state:

Voluntary parent contributions are not part of the school funding base.

Tell that to the schools. That is, again, an untrue statement. The Minister himself, in his speech just now, said that the Government provides 98 per cent of the schools' funding. Where does the other 2 per cent come from? It comes from voluntary contributions. They make up the 100 per cent funding base. Of course, Mr Speaker, if the Government believes that it is funding only 98 per cent of the base, then I would say to you, "For heaven's sake, fund 100 per cent". They cannot have it both ways. That kind of internal inconsistency is just typical of this response.

Mr Speaker, on the one hand, the Government says, "We have given them all the money they need. We have maintained our commitment in real terms". Everybody knows that that is a lie. On the other hand, they say, "But the school-based management will solve all of the funding problems". That is exactly what this response says. For instance, in the response to recommendation 8, the Government says:

As mentioned above -

they had not mentioned it, as a matter of fact -

the school based management arrangements currently being developed will, inter alia, result in more funds being under direct school control. Schools will have greater budgets -

what a lie! -

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