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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 593 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order, please, Mr Berry! You did not ask the question.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is hard to make a comment on how many places it will mean, but certainly it could mean an extra 50 places. The cost of a place on our methadone program, I think, is in the vicinity of $1,000.

MR RUGENDYKE: I ask, as a supplementary question: Could you advise the Assembly what the timetable is for reaching the target of two to three weeks and how long it is likely to take to get there?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, starting immediately is the story. As soon as possible is the answer. Fairly obviously, we need to have the outlets available - outlets that are appropriate to the people involved. I do not think anyone could doubt my serious concern in this area, and I believe really strongly that we do need to have an accessible methadone program.

School Enrolments

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education. The Minister has stated that he wants to encourage a community debate on excess space in government schools. In December 1996, Minister, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Government Schooling presented a report making recommendations for managing secondary schools with declining enrolments, recommendations which the Minister accepted. Will the Minister table that report - that is the first question - and now inform the Assembly whether those recommendations have been implemented and what was the outcome?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, in relation to the first question, I will certainly have a look at the report and, if I think it is appropriate, I would certainly be inclined to table it. My understanding in relation to the second question is that there are a number of recommendations there and some of those indeed, I understand, have been taken on board. I would need to go back and have a look at the report to see exactly what they are.

It was a wide-ranging report, which looked at a number of issues relating to declining enrolments, including, might I say, issues such as capping, which was actually rejected as a result of the consultation. A number of other strategies were implemented. I recall some of the strategies, such as specific courses in certain colleges. I am not too sure whether that was in high schools, but certainly having specific courses germane just to certain colleges was recommended. That certainly has been the case in the last couple of years. I think I am accurate in saying that that was the recommendation.

Several colleges have got specific courses which are not available at other colleges. For example, Copland College has some courses in relation to media, and there is some equipment in there, and also some vocational education and training courses which no other college has. Certainly there are some specific courses. As we well know, both Dickson College and Erindale College have some talented sports programs which other people do not.

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