Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2670 ..
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the question was: what was the average cost to households? We are two minutes into the answer and we are still to get an answer to Mrs Burke's question.
MR SPEAKER: I am surprised that you can hear the answer above the interjections from your side. There is no point of order.
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, included in those programs is our kindergarten to year 2 initiative of $25 million over four years, something which even the education union and the P&C thought was excellent. Indeed, the P&C had not even contemplated asking for an initiative like that. There are other initiatives-we know them all.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: he is not going to answer the question. I would rather ask Mr Humphries what he is going to do about the unemployed.
MR STEFANIAK: You will have your chance.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Sit down and don't do that again, Mr Berry, otherwise I will deal with you.
MR STEFANIAK: What value is the assistance to the average family? I might say that 17,000 students have already applied for that assistance. The value to the average family? On average, families will save $400 per student per annum in the cost of getting to school and going home. We anticipate that there will be a further increase in students participating in the scheme from the new 2002 school year. We have provided funding to accommodate that growth.
Mrs Burke asked whether there have been any alternatives proposed for the free school bus program.
Mr Berry: By Labor. We will put it into schools.
MR STEFANIAK: Not from us but from Labor. Apart from grabbing all of our initiatives, they say they will spend that on education funding. Let us have a look at that. I think we are getting into Berry-nomics again, Mr Speaker. Labor wants to take $8 million of the $27 million which, as my colleague the Urban Services Minister said, is actually for capital expenditure, and spend it on recurrent programs. That does not really work after the first year. I am sure that at least the shadow Treasurer would recognise that as a no-no.
Mr Berry made the same budgetary mistake in the lead up to the last election so we are probably seeing a bit of Berry-nomics here. He thinks he can get his hands on it and do with it as he pleases. Well, you cannot and I think Mr Quinlan should tell him so. You cannot use capital appropriations for recurrent purposes-end of story.
But it then gets a little bit worse because we know of one of the initiatives that will apply to the remaining $19 million. Labor wants to extend our brilliant kindergarten to year 2 scheme to include year 3 students. That might sound pretty reasonable. Interestingly, that will cost $11 million over four years. There is a lot of literature which suggests that there