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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1168 ..

MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question. So, Minister, is it only in your interests to attack small schools in the public sector, and is this not just part of your ideological indifference to the public education system?

MR STEFANIAK: I think that is absolute nonsense. We are not attacking any schools, Mr Berry. In fact, this Government quite clearly has a very definite position which we took to the last election, and it is very much in terms of what the P&C required. We would see school closures very much as a last resort. What we have put up, Mr Berry, is a very simple proposition to communities that might well be considering going down that path. Mr Berry, you should be aware that in recent times some have shown interest, and I think it is fair that we put that on the table.

We are not attacking any school, Mr Berry. You have got it completely wrong. Mr Berry, you might like to have a chat to a few people in the AEU too in terms of their views from the teacher perspective.

Bruce Stadium

MR KAINE: My question is to the Chief Minister and it is to do with the Bruce Stadium redevelopment. Depending on who is doing the talking, the Bruce Stadium redevelopment cost has blown out by at least $5m to $32m and may well be more. With a project of this kind, contractors do not usually sit around waiting for the Government to turn up with the money at some future time. They submit bills and progress bills are paid. Can the Chief Minister tell us at this stage how much has actually been paid to the contractor, and has the final contract been adjusted to put the contract price at the $32m or whatever the blow-out figure is as opposed to the originally contracted figure of $27m?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, obviously I will have to take that on notice. I do not think any Minister would ever be expected to know exactly how much money is being paid to contractors at any particular time on a particular project.

MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question. It is remarkable how badly informed the Chief Minister is on something like this when it is her project, Mr Speaker. Based on the fact that progress payments would probably have been made to at least 75 per cent of the value of the project at this stage - it is almost finished - and the Government itself is limited to $12m approximately, as expressed in the capital works program, will the Chief Minister also find out where the additional money has come from? From whom has it been borrowed, by whom has it been borrowed, and what are the terms and conditions of that loan?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am able to answer some of that question. I think it has been quite clear that the ACT Government has been entering into financing arrangements. We have made that very public. We went out to tender, looking for a financier for the Bruce Stadium. Those arrangements are approaching finalisation, Mr Speaker. I understand that the entity is the Commonwealth Bank. The relationship or the final contract with the Commonwealth Bank will be signed in the very near future.

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