Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 862 ..
Mr Smyth: What was proposed, Minister?
MR HUMPHRIES: What was proposed? What was proposed, Mr Speaker, was a cut - wait for it - of $900,000 in preschool education in the ACT, almost $1m in education spending in the ACT. The Teachers Federation at the time said:
This is the first Labor ACT Government. What is going to happen to the ACT education system if they make these cuts in their very first budget?
The spokesperson went on to talk about the way in which "the proposed cuts were devastating to the delivery of education from preschool to TAFE".
Mr Speaker, I also found some comments on a debate which was held in the Assembly a few weeks later. This comes from an article in the Canberra Times on 2 November. I can see why those opposite are pretty nervous at this point in time, but they really have to sit down and listen to this. The heading of the article is "Preschool closures : no guarantees, says Whalan". I will read out the first two paragraphs of the article. It says:
A preschool - - -
Mr Stanhope: Who is this Whalan?
Mr Berry: Who is this guy? Who is Whalan?
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed, you may ask, Mr Stanhope; indeed you may ask. I quote from the article:
A preschool with less than 17 enrolments would be closed, but one with more than 17 would not automatically stay open, the ACT's Education Minister, Paul Whalan, told the Legislative Assembly yesterday.
Mr Hird: Labor?
MR HUMPHRIES: The Labor Education Minister for the Territory.
Mr Smyth: That is old Labor.
MR HUMPHRIES: Oh, this is new Labor. Right. I am sorry. It continues:
Speaking during a lengthy debate on the Government's proposal to close five part-time preschools, Mr Whalan said the Government had not reneged on its pre-election promise that no school would be closed or amalgamated unless the school community agreed.