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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 852 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

what we should be doing is endorsing the Standing Committee on the Chief Minister's Portfolio doing the extra parts of the inquiry that he wants. But why the heck are we doubling up? When you take into account the time limit that Mr Osborne has suggested for the report, it seems to me to be a very sensible thing for Assembly committees to be involved in. There is no cut to the preschool budget.

Let us have a look at the future of preschools. We know that towards the end of last year there was a widely accepted rearrangement of preschool enrolment procedures. It went through a very long process. It involved the whole preschool community. It came up with a much more effective way of doing preschool enrolments and ensuring that they work within the preschool sector. It was a broad, community-based process. The future of preschools, in regard to preschools remaining open and how enrolments are set, has been dealt with. Wayne, at the time, you were busy doing other things. You were looking at health. But, of course, this process has been completed in a very broad consultative way with the community, with very positive outcomes.

Mr Berry: What?

MR MOORE: Mr Berry did not hear me. This is about the process that occurred over the last year to ensure that enrolment procedures were in line with community expectations. It was widely accepted by the preschool sector and by all the observers. It went through a very long and very good process, which came out with very good outcomes. Many of those things are tested by the Auditor-General's report - and this is what brought it about. I guess that the challenge we really have is to say, "How are we going to proceed now?", because we have two inquiries into the same thing running in parallel, and will we not all look like dills if they come out with two entirely different conclusions?

Mr Corbell: You supported the inquiry by the Education Committee, actually, Mr Moore.

Mr Hird: He certainly did; but, compliments of Wayne, we have two situations, Mr Corbell.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Moore has the floor.

MR MOORE: What we need to do is to resolve this issue. I think the two committee chairs ought to sit down and say, "Who is going to do the inquiry?". If the inquiry is already well under way in the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee, either they can pass over to the Education Committee the information that they have already, or the Education Committee, which has not really started on this report to any great extent, can say, "Okay, we will let the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee look into it".

It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that Mr Berry is quite right to draw attention to the fact that the preschool sector is an absolutely critical sector in ACT education. There is a huge amount of evidence that the outcome for society as a whole from preschool education is incredibly positive, and that is why this Government did not cut the preschool

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