Page 2622 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 25 September 2007

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could consider the sale of land, presumably in preparations for the election budget in 2008. It has taken the first three months to find a consultant to undertake that consultation, effectively halving the consultation time. Minister, is this consultation period heading down the same road as that which was undertaken for the Griffith library, where you went ahead with government plans because you did not like the answers coming from the community?

MR HARGREAVES: On a slightly lighter note, I bet my staff $5 that one of those people opposite would actually make reference to those other bits and that I would not rise to the bait. When we put out a tender process through Procurement Solutions, we wanted it to be done in accordance with the Financial Management Act and the procurement act. I am sure those opposite would not like us to breach that. So that has to run its course. We put that out, and the consultant was selected.

Is the period to the end of December budget related? No, it is not. I do not know how many times I have to say, in a public arena, that I have no preconceptions at all—none. We have put four options on the table. When did we do that? As I said before, it was last May. I believe it is inconceivable that people concerned with the use of a former school in their area would just sit and wait for the starter’s gun. They have got those four proposals out there in the public arena. Nothing will convince me that people who were concerned about their school site would not be preparing for it. Indeed, I have received some representations, which I have duly passed on to the property group, from such people because I do not want to be involved in any way, shape or form in this process while it is under the guidance of this consultant. I have made that very clear. I have no preconceptions and I do not want to be involved. The community have to look at it and make their views known to us.

Is there enough time between now and Christmas? I believe so. As I have mentioned in this place on a number of occasions, the consultation process will be reasonable and it will be site specific. I am assuming that, because there were 30 people at the Wanniassa consultation process yesterday, people are concentrating more on site-specific issues; they will therefore bring their stories forward on a site-specific issue and we can proceed with that.

Why do we want to finish it at around Christmas-time? It is to give certainty to the community. They need certainty. Community groups have to plan for their accommodation in the future. You cannot just open the doors and have people move in. There will be refurbishments, renovations and all manner of things for those areas where community groups will go in and occupy the sites in order to provide a service to the community. Where there will be a change to a school site, it will require all manner of planning processes. There may very well be variations to the territory plan. It will be at least 12 months before anything is seen on those sites.

I do not want to leave the community waiting for any longer than they need to. The community are starting to heal with respect to the closure of these schools. Those opposite are not allowing this healing process to go forward. I want to make sure that we have closure on this issue and that the community have their say in an open, transparent and honest way. And they will have that say; they will put their views forward, we will make decisions on it and we will advise them as quickly after

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