Page 2240 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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MR QUINLAN: I think Mr Mulcahy answered his own question. Quite clearly that is a question that ought to have been asked on notice so that we can give precise numbers. I have just been advised by Mr Hargreaves that his application to me was $5.449 million. It is a matter of whether that has been in one bite or two—if there had been $3 million and there is a total of $5 million. The year is not over yet.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Why did you not include unforeseen expenditure on general insurance, workers compensation premium, security measures and overtime in the statement of reasons you tabled in the Assembly last Tuesday, as I assume this information must have been available?

MR QUINLAN: How much detail do I need to provide? There is not a regulation so just pick a head of costs somewhere and ask about that. I am quite happy to provide the information that you require. I am also happy to provide this house with relatively concise information in relation to expenditures charged against the Treasurer’s advance. I do not have a problem with that.

Public education

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. The federal education minister, Brendan Nelson, announced by way of a media release on Friday, 17 June that state and territory governments had failed to match the federal government’s funding of state schools. I understand that Dr Nelson responded to a question without notice from one of his Liberal colleagues in the federal parliament on the same matter on Tuesday. Minister, is that the true situation when it comes to the ACT government’s funding of public education? In short, can Dr Nelson be trusted when it comes to statements on education funding?

Mr Smyth: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Did the question contain an imputation? The question asked whether the minister could be trusted. Surely, it is out of order.

MR SPEAKER: I think it is a question. The issue of imputations is, I think, in relation to members of this place.

MS GALLAGHER: Sadly, the figures of Dr Nelson in his media release of Friday, 17 June were incorrect. Dr Nelson suggested that the federal government is a great champion of state school funding. There were several flawed assumptions in his media release. He stated that Labor state and territory governments had failed to match the commonwealth’s rate of increase in funding to state schools. In the case of the ACT, Dr Nelson’s press release said that the ACT government had increased funding to government schools only by 2.6 per cent. It suggests that, in comparison, the federal government’s increase was in the order of 8.7 per cent.

Those figures are simply wrong. As Dr Nelson undoubtedly knows, the 2.6 per cent figure relates to the increase in total expenses from the 2004-05 estimated outcome to the 2005-06 budget. Expenses are not the best measure of resources provided to government schooling as they include a large number of technical accounting requirements, such as depreciation and employee provisions, that have no impact on the actual running of

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