Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2970 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Community Options were successful tenderers for these funds. It is expected that some need identified by this process will be addressed through the additional community access services. I hope that answers your question, Mr Wood.
MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question. Thank you, Mr Moore. I think you did answer my question, except that I am not sure whether those who have applied and been successful and unsuccessful have yet been informed in that most recent activity. Is there a date by which that will be known?
MR MOORE: Mr Wood, I will take that question on notice and get back to you as quickly as I can.
MR BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. Mr Speaker, the Minister has been urging schools to consider closing on the narrow basis of surplus space in schools. The Minister uses the word "amalgamation", but this is about closures. This is a theme that has also been seized upon by the Chief Minister. On 8 September on ABC radio the Minister estimated savings of $200,000 to $250,000 from the closure of small primary school sites. Minister, will you provide the detailed costings which led to those assumptions? I recognise that you might not have them with you. All I want is an agreement that you will give us the detailed costings which led to those assumptions. I would ask you to include in those an indication of whether this is an annual or one-off saving.
MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. I think he might have forgotten some previous debates on this issue. I think that figure was used back in 1990 or so in respect of some school closures then. That was for primary schools. For a high school I understand the figure was something more like half a million dollars. It may well be timely, Mr Berry, to see whether there might be some further costs involved. That is certainly a figure that has been used now for eight or so years. I think the P&C did some fairly detailed costings themselves and made that estimate back then, as did the then Alliance Government.
It may well be there are some additional costs. My understanding - this is the way we have always used them - is that they are the annual costs if you cease to operate on a school site. The figure is about the figure you mentioned - $200,000 to $250,000 per year. That is a recurrent cost saved each year if, for example, two primary schools amalgamated from two sites to one.
MR BERRY: I ask a supplementary question. I do not know whether I heard you say you will give us the detailed costings or not. I will ask it again. Will you give us the detailed costings? Is it not a fact that the estimate of space in schools includes the space occupied by tenants of schools and is therefore in use and not really surplus? Will you give us the details?
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Berry, I do not have any problems giving you an update of the estimated savings that occur from the closure of a site. There might be slight differences from site to site. As for the current situation, I would be happy to write an update on what has actually been used. I think you need to be a bit cautious in mentioning tenancies