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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 402 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

We have that expectation in this place right here. In my room upstairs, in all our rooms, the conditions are reasonable. I have air conditioning. We ought to be able to attend to the needs of those students, and it is simply not good enough to try to say, "Well, if the school wants it, they can pay for it."

When we were running schools, we expected that we would put in the full infrastructure for that school. We did not expect the school to pay for the heating that every school had. We would not now expect that you would build a school that is just a shed and then say to the school, "Well, it is school-based management; you provide the heating and the cooling." We would not expect that. We provide a new school with the infrastructure. The infrastructure is at a cost to the government.

Again I will say that I remember the debate, in 1995 and subsequently, about school-based management. The schools were most concerned. I remember the Labor Party put out a statement saying, "Well, if it's to go ahead, the government must provide more resources to those schools. It must not ask the schools to do more, whether with staff resources or financial resources, without giving it more money or more staff or more staff time." I remember that debate-I was part of it.

Mr Moore: They were given a lot more money.

MR WOOD: And that was eminently reasonable-that if you were going to ask the schools to do more, because they did not have vast ability to move beyond their existing expenditures, you give them something to do it with. And now to turn around and say to a school that they have to cover this from their own resources, I think, is putting aside the proper amount of responsibility that the government ought to have for its schools. I say to the minister: pay attention to the needs of those students. They deserve it.

MRS BURKE: I raise a point of clarification under standing order 47. In response to Ms Tucker's and Mr Hargreaves' comments, I was not suggesting that students should not be consulted, Ms Tucker. Students do indeed need to be consulted, but I reiterate that I did not believe that this was a suitable forum for this to occur in, due to the sort of message it sends to our young children.

Mr Hargreaves suggested that there was no alternative for parents, but I suggest that they have an alternative in leaving their children at home and not allowing them to be used as political footballs. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (3.37): Could I speak twice because of the second amendment, Mr Speaker. Mr Hargreaves made some comments, and I thank him for one compliment, but he gave me the impression in his comments that he had not received a letter from me in relation to concerns about Charles Conder and also Gordon.

Firstly to that, might I say that the other complaint we have received in our office-and I think it was from a parent-was in relation to, I believe, Charles Conder. And that, to my knowledge, is about the only other complaint in relation to this issue we have got, apart from, of course, the ones from Gordon Primary.

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