Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1230 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
term or long-term projects. Allocations are made by a committee-I assume that this is still the case-which deals with the limited resources that are available through that scheme and the block grant system. The committee allocates those resources, divvies them up, between all the schools who put in for consideration, and I think this is done in a very fair way.
The system is very similar to the sports loan interest subsidy scheme. In other words, it is a system under which the government pays up to 10 per cent of the interest on capital grants in respect of buildings or whatever. It is an interest subsidy scheme. Of course, the level of interest rates these days means that under this scheme interest payments are covered. This is a wonderful way of having some excellent facilities built. For example, I think the hockey centre was partly built with the assistance of the sports loan interest subsidy scheme, and you, Mr Speaker, as an ex-sports minister, would be well aware of that scheme.
The interest subsidy scheme for the non-government sector is an equally good scheme. It enables schools in the non-government sector to build necessary capital works which otherwise they would have huge difficulty doing. It would be a real shame if the recommendation to toss the scheme were followed, because schools use the scheme very well in building their infrastructure. I think there would be a real problem if they were unable to do so. I commend those remarks to the minister and I also commend Mr Pratt's most sensible motion to the Assembly.
MRS BURKE (12.21): I am sad to see Ms Gallagher sitting all on her own. I am sorry that you have not got the support, Katy. To describe the report-a report that has cost us all $276,000-I would use Mr Corbell's words "disappointing"and, indeed, "nothing new".
I support Mr Pratt's motion. I must acknowledge, Ms Gallagher, that I have not read the report from front to back but, having been in the sector, I am very aware of some of the issues that the sector has been facing over the last 12 to 18 months.
Whilst I enjoyed reading the report-it was a good read because it refreshed what I already knew-I am sad to say that it was lacking in the ideas and innovation needed to drive education forward in a practical manner. I do not think Lyndsay Connors has really identified anything new. We have paid all this money for the report and that concerns me. The report simply tells us the obvious. It tells us about the problems that still exist some 17 months after this government took over the reins, and some six years after Labor was in opposition.
I remember distinctly Labor members telling me that they were ready for government and they had all the answers, and education was one of those big areas. Well, where are their solutions? Where are this government's solutions to the problems we have known about for the last 17 months at least? Where are they going to spend the $7.4 million? I could tell you now where we could spend some of those valuable dollars. I am confounded and astounded that we needed to spend this amount of money to tell us where we need to spend the money that we have. It does not add up.
Where is the innovation needed to implement new strategies to move the education sector forward, to be relevant in the 21st century? The simplistic view and possible