Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 977 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
We know already that ACTEW have indicated that they are going to shed 10 per cent of staff over the next two years. They have indicated that they cannot stay in the electricity retailing industry unless something gives. Mr Speaker, we are not willing to just let that happen. We want to find different ways to allow for growth in the future.
Mr Quinlan: So we will sell the dams and the sewerage works.
MS CARNELL: It is fascinating that Mr Quinlan has said before that that is what we should be doing. All of a sudden, there was a big turnaround after Mr Egan cancelled meetings with Mr Stanhope, and now they are being as negative as they always are. They simply cannot accept a positive way forward. If they are going to continue with this approach, Mr Speaker, they have to put on the table what they would do.
MR BERRY: I ask a supplementary question. Is it open to the much-vaunted working party to come out with a decision that this has been a complete waste of time, or is it that everybody involved in this has been instructed to dance to your blinkered ideological tune?
MR SPEAKER: I do not think that deserves an answer, Chief Minister.
MS CARNELL: Is it my blinkered ideological tune or is it Michael Egan's blinkered ideological tune? This is a joint approach between me and Michael Egan and our particular departments. I do not think Michael Egan would worry at all if Wayne Berry said he had an ideological approach. In fact, I think Michael Egan would wear it with a badge of acceptance.
MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Bill Stefaniak. Some weeks ago there were allegations that several primary school teachers had fudged their enrolment figures. I understand that as a result of that your department engaged an independent auditor to review its census process. Can you, as Minister, advise the parliament of the results of that review, sir?
MR STEFANIAK: Yes, I can. I thank the member for the question. At the time the story broke about a particular school understating enrolments, my department was the subject of various criticisms about its census process. The census is undertaken in mid-February to determine enrolment numbers for the purpose of staffing. I think Mr Berry went so far as to tell the Canberra Times that the principal had not committed a hanging offence as the census process had proved a problem over a number of years. He added that the principal was only "trying to get around the system to defend the quality of the education his school could provide".
The AEU president, Clive Haggar, joined the criticism, saying the case exposed "the impact of having an arbitrary cut-off date". While he said the union certainly did not condone anyone not following proper procedures, he tempered this by adding that the census procedure needed to be overhauled. We had a look at the census procedure. That was part and parcel of the process we set in train as a result of these problems. It was