Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1086 ..

MR BERRY: I will wait until they withdraw. I am happy to stand for 48 seconds. I would like to see them withdraw.

MR SPEAKER: Would you mind, please?

Mr Humphries: If Mr Berry is upset about it, I will withdraw it.

Mr Moore: In the interests of the procedures of the Assembly, Mr Speaker, I shall withdraw the accusation I made that Mr Berry misled the Assembly when he suggested that we had cut education funding. I expect that people will just look at the budget.

MR BERRY: That will do. I am less upset now, Mr Speaker. Again I say that when the Minister climbs to his feet I want to hear him talk about quality education and quality options for the future - no more of this nonsense about school closures. Your record on it is appalling and I suggest you find another method when you are dealing with the community. The Charnwood community and the Spence community are still stinging at the performance of the Minister as a result of school closures, and they will never forget it.

MS TUCKER (3.51): I am a bit disappointed, too, by Mr Hird's presentation this afternoon. The matter of public importance is:

The importance of options for schooling into the next century.

I thought we would have had a very broad discussion about this important matter. It is indeed an important matter, and the question of school closures is a very small part of the discussion. I am not saying it is not significant but you would not think it was of major importance in a discussion of this nature.

Just for the record, the Greens certainly do not say, as Labor did, that there shall never be any school closures. We have a policy which requires, first of all, pre-emptive action by government to look at how it can ensure that schools stay viable. If that is not possible, then we are asking for full community involvement in any decisions about closures. Because there are a lot of difficulties for local communities, we also want broader aspects of school closures taken into account. That did not happen with the Spence-Melba merger.

You just cannot look at the closure of a school in isolation without recognising that there are going to be other impacts on the community. In this case definite impacts were going to be felt by the local shopping centre. The traders there were already struggling. There are some important issues about viability of local shopping centres which we have debated many times in this Assembly. In that area there were quite important issues about people not being able to access their shops - people who do not have transport, people who are disadvantaged in various ways. A broad discussion is necessary as well when we are talking about closure of schools.

I would like to pick up some of the broader issues, because I was under the impression that that is what we were looking at this afternoon. In particular, I am concerned about how the Government has moved into school-based management and how it keeps

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .