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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2955 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

incentives. We will not be throwing cash around, but we will still attempt to introduce business and encourage business to come to the territory.

Mr Humphries: But not multinationals.

MR QUINLAN: We will seek to attract multinationals, but we will not be giving them cash, Mr Humphries. We will not be giving them cash in the large licks that you gave them.

Education funding

MR PRATT: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Corbell. I refer to a media release put out by the Chief Minister on 25 August 2002, last Sunday, entitled "Government to set own priorities". In the release, Mr Stanhope said, "Dozens of major education initiatives which we support could not be funded." Minister, why were you unable to provide funding for these initiatives which Mr Stanhope has said that the government supports when there is over $7 million in discretionary funding for education sitting in the budget which you have yet to allocate?

MR CORBELL: The reason for that, of course, is that the government treats very seriously the feedback it is receiving from the education sector in relation to priorities for future education funding. Mr Speaker, unlike the lot opposite, when we establish a consultation exercise, we are actually serious about listening to what is brought up in it. The government has established the Connors inquiry into education funding, which is a key inquiry and, in fact, an inquiry which is generating interest right round the country, as an approach to determining the best way of focusing education funding in both the government and the non-government sectors to meet need and to address equity in the systems.

Mr Speaker, that money is in the budget so that we fulfil in full our election commitment to dedicate an additional $27 million to the education budget, $27 million that you were prepared to try to shove into somebody's pocket as a bit of a bribe. Do you remember the free school bus bribe? We are going to put that into schools, into the school system, inside the school gate, to make a difference for children, teachers and their parents in schools, and that is what we are doing. Equally, we understand that there are a range of competing pressures and-

Mr Pratt: If there is $27 million inside the front gate, pigs will fly.

MR CORBELL: You asked the question, Mr Pratt. Are you going to let me answer it? We understand that there are these demands. That is why we have established the Connors inquiry. Once the Connors inquiry has reported, we will understand better the full range of need and how to address need in an equitable way, and that money will be allocated to address those issues.

MR PRATT: I have a supplementary question. Minister, what were the major education initiatives that Mr Stanhope spoke about which have missed out? What were they?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, if Mr Pratt wants to hear what goes on in the cabinet room, he will have to work a bit harder.

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