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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1092 ..

MRS CARNELL: What we have not done is gone off half-cocked with one report, as Mr Bill Wood was very keen to do. We have a number of reports looking at such important things as the social impact of the expansion of major centres and what it will do to small businesses, to people employed and to the community generally, rather than just accept one report as Mr Wood wanted to do. Even with a couple of reports available, we require any proposal for expansion or redevelopment of a major centre, or, for that matter, a not so major centre, to go to full community consultation, and the proponent to come up with plans to allow for input - all of the sorts of things that this Assembly continues to urge. I believe that this is an appropriate approach.

Again, unlike those opposite, we will come down with a retail strategy for community input inside the next month or so. We will ask for input not just on how big Woden Plaza or Tuggeranong Town Centre may be, but also on such important issues as retail trading hours, and what we really want for the future of our local centres, our group centres and so on. These issues must be looked at in their totality. That is what we told Woden Plaza. That is why they have not got an approval and have had no undertaking that they will get one. We have told them that unless they go through this sort of process they have no show.

Schools - Funding

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. This Government, we have heard, is committed to the expansion of school-based management to provide much greater financial flexibility for schools. It has also said in its response to the PAC report on voluntary contributions, which was rejected by the Assembly this morning, that it will not make up shortfalls in discretionary funding. Is the Government concerned that declining real resources to schools relative to needs is creating a climate in which schools will increasingly be forced to seek corporate sponsorship and that schools in wealthier suburbs will be more likely to attract sponsors, thereby causing inequity in our public school system?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question, Mr Speaker. I think that what Ms Tucker and other members have to realise is that we do have a very good education system in Canberra. We have many demographic features in Canberra which are quite different from other parts of Australia and other places such as New Zealand. The issues raised by Ms Tucker are certainly very much in the forefront of the Government's consideration of the school-based management issues. Those are issues that have been raised elsewhere and they are things we look at in terms of school-based management, Ms Tucker. They certainly are things that are of concern to schools in the move towards enhanced school-based management. They are things we take into account, obviously, and that the community is taking into account. Having said that, I think we are fairly fortunate in this community in having, generally speaking, across Canberra a demography which is quite different from parts of Melbourne and parts of Sydney where there are very real socioeconomic differences.

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