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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4599 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

I also looked at and questioned the curriculum and the development of the curriculum. I was informed that it covered arts, computing, woodwork and metalwork. I then visited those areas. There was an active arts department. The computer area was an active computer area, but the library certainly needed a lot to be done to it. It was very easy to brush off the needs of the students, but if they have computers they need the manuals. As to the woodworking area, it was non-existent. Indeed, it was full of cobwebs. It had not been used for some years and was located to the rear of the existing building. The equipment in the metalwork area could have found a place in a metalwork museum. If it was used it could be dangerous not only to the students but also to the teachers. (Extension of time granted) As for the problems about mixing with mainstream students, I witnessed students mixing with students at the vocational education institution next-door.

I believe that what the Minister and the department are doing is positive. At the end of the day we, as a community, have a responsibility to the parents of those students under that duty of care. It was clear to me, from my investigations, that that was not being observed. To say that it is the end of an era or an end of the school because it is moving from Ainslie to Dickson is incorrect, as this school has moved on two other occasions. It is clear that the Education Department does not want to wash its hands of it. It sees it as an alternative educational facility which is there for the students. Those students are under our care. It is our duty to make sure that they are educated. We have a responsibility to the community, to the students and to their parents to make certain that we know exactly where they are and what they are doing.

I commend the report and my dissenting report. I would like to thank those who gave up their time to give evidence before our committee. I also thank my colleagues and the secretary, Judy Henderson. I commend the report as tabled with the dissenting report.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.21 to 2.30 pm


Library Service

MR WHITECROSS: My question without notice is to the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr De Domenico. Minister, I refer to your announcement - perhaps your department's announcement, since it was bad news - on the weekend that you were going to reduce library opening hours and your claim that you were doing this because in a survey the library customers all asked you to. Apparently, they said that they would rather you increased expenditure on books than kept the library open for the current number of hours. Minister, do you concede that the proposed increased expenditure on books for the ACT Library Service only redresses the cuts made in last year's budget and that cutting of opening hours is nothing more - - -

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