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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 476 ..

MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I am heartened to hear that but, as this money has not been included in budgets or forward estimates, what will be the impact on other expenditures in the education budget, or aren't you sure of that yet?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, it has been included in forward estimates. It was included in the forward estimates of the previous government's budget for ACTION for the provision of free school buses. We will be looking at spending that money instead in the education sector. This government is open in getting the views of people as to how this money should be spent. I have already referred the matter to the new Government Schools Advisory Council for its opinion on the most appropriate areas of priority for the expenditure of this money. Equally, I will be making a similar reference to the non-government schools advisory body so that it can also provide views to the government in the context of the forthcoming budget about where it believes the priority areas to be. We will be looking then at the most appropriate mix in terms of the provision of funding and the timeframe in which it will occur.

Education spending

MR SMYTH: My question is for the Treasurer. Mr Quinlan, given the non-answer from Mr Corbell, how would the ACT coffers be able to sustain an additional hit to the bottom line if there were to be the planned $27 million increase over one to two years in education funding which Mr Corbell intends, and how does his plan fit with your comments that the cupboard is bare?

MR QUINLAN: The first point that has to be made is the obvious point that the $27 million was originally a mixture-

MR SPEAKER: I think the question was a little bit on the hypothetical side, wasn't it?

MR QUINLAN: We will get to that, but I am not going to say too much. They will be squealing.

MR SPEAKER: I call Mr Quinlan, if he want to answer it.

MR QUINLAN: I do not think they will be jumping for joy by the time I have finished my answer, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I suppose that is the intent, isn't it?

MR QUINLAN: Most members of this place will be aware that the original expenditure was a mixture of capital and operating expenditure. That will continue to be the case. As this government said and as Mr Corbell said before the election, the intent was that we would do this on a needs basis and that there would be inquiries. We cannot specifically say where the money is going to. If you think there is any mileage in putting together a string of questions asking about this bit of a budget and that bit of a budget that is going to come down in June, you have to be dreaming.

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