Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1890 ..
Mr Corbell: You have been in government for four years now, have you not?
MR STEFANIAK: Shut up, will you.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Minister, answer Mr Rugendyke's question, please.
MR STEFANIAK: I would remind members opposite of the fact that between 1992 and 1994 they made some 27 ovals, 16 of which were next to primary schools, low maintenance. We are now seeing some of the problems in relation to that. Members will be well aware too of the budgetary problems this Government has. Mr Rugendyke, that has been one of the more significant, annoying problems that I have faced in that area. I would love to be able to say that we will bring them all back to full maintenance. The fact is that we do not have enough money for that. Questions were asked in the Estimates Committee about that. That is just a sad fact of life. With a lot of effort over the last three years, I think I have managed to bring about 11/2 ovals back to full maintenance.
As a result of steps I took towards the end of last year and earlier this year, a number of people, including some principals in the Department of Education, along with people from the Bureau of Sport and Mr Wheeler's area, are looking at this question to see what can be done within our current financial constraints to ensure that schools have adequate access to recreational and sporting facilities, and especially to see what can be done to fix up problems at ovals such as the one at Miles Franklin. I am well aware of the problem at Miles Franklin. I was out there only a few months ago. The oval is basically a paddock. That is a real problem. Some schools on low maintenance have some areas of playing ground which are not too much of a problem but a number have what I regard as a very serious problem, hence the fact that I have a group of people, including school principals, going through that at present. I would hope to be in a position within the next few weeks to be able to make an announcement. I understand that that group is going through various schools looking at questions of access and equity and looking at what can be done within available funds. It is a problem that my people have been working on for about eight months to rectify. I say again that that situation goes back to what I think was a most regrettable decision taken between 1992 and 1994 by the previous Government.
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, through you, my question is to the chair of the Select Committee on Estimates. It relates to the report presented last week by the majority of the committee. Did you determine what the recommendations your committee put forward would add to the bottom line of the budget?
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to receive this question, because last evening the Chief Minister was on television saying the Estimates Committee had given her budget the tick. Of course, it was far from that. Indeed, this Estimates Committee report was the most substantial ever. It had more recommendations in relation to the Chief Minister's budget than ever. Fifty recommendations were critical of the Chief Minister's budget.