Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 93 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
If you add to that $19 million or $20 million of bushfire costs and accounting-and trust me, it is "and accounting"-then that adds a dimension to the budget which it is worth discussing and which it is worth people being aware of as a distinct influence on the next budget.
MR PRATT: My question is to the minister for education. The report of the Connors inquiry has largely endorsed the current education system, while launching a largely ideological attack on independent schools and the Howard government. The former minister for education would not allocate the $7.4 million slush fund, now sitting idle for eight months, pending the release of this report. Will the minister now get on with allocating the $7.4 million, and can the minister advise the Assembly which recommendations will form the basis of this allocation?
MR SPEAKER: I think you are asking the minister to announce executive policy in relation to a report the government have under consideration, so I am going to rule that part of the question out of order. Minister, you may answer the rest of it.
Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Was the question not as to what recommendations the government might accept, which is hardly about announcing the government's policy?
MR SPEAKER: It called on the minister to announce executive policy. It is pretty plain to me.
MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, can I help the minister by rephrasing the question?
MR SPEAKER: That would be helpful.
Mr Hargreaves: Is that the supplementary question?
MR SPEAKER: No. Mr Pratt, if you want to rephrase the question, it might be helpful, provided that you do not ask the minister to announce executive policy.
MR PRATT: Thank you for your assistance, Mr Speaker. Shall we go back and ask that question again? The report of the Connors inquiry has largely endorsed the current education system. The former minister for education would not allocate the $7.4 million slush fund, now sitting idle for eight months, pending the release of this report. Will the minister now get on with allocating the $7.4 million and advise the Assembly what plans she might have to do that, without waiting for the recommendations of that report?
MS GALLAGHER: Mr Pratt, I do not think it has been any secret that the $7.4 million will be allocated in this budget round. We have not been sitting idle in the allocation of that money. In fact, over the past year recommendations have been sought from the Government School Education Council and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Non-Government Schooling about how they would like to see the $7.4 million allocated. We are receiving their submissions. We are considering their requests, and decisions about the $7.4 million will be made in light of the budget.