Page 3453 - Week 11 - Thursday, 15 November 2007

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Dr Foskey: That’s why you don’t give them any schools.

MR BARR: If Dr Foskey would stop interjecting, I would note that we are opening a new $21 million school at Harrison for the 2008 school year. We are opening a new school in Gungahlin next year, and we have invested $61 million in the construction of a new secondary college and CIT facility in the Gungahlin town centre.

It seems that the Liberals and the Greens do not like this investment. We know what Mrs Dunne thinks about investment in public education. Time and time again, we hear from Mrs Dunne that investment in public education is throwing good money after bad. We hear it time and time again from Mrs Dunne. What is disappointing in this context is that Dr Foskey appears to be joining this bandwagon. The government is investing money in new school facilities in Gungahlin. The Harrison primary school opens for the 2008 school year. The Gungahlin secondary college will open in the 2010 year—$80 million worth of investment in new education infrastructure, new schools, for Gungahlin, to meet the needs of that growing community. As I have said, that is the area of fastest growth in school age population. That is where the government should be investing money in new schools, and that is where the government is investing money in new schools.


MR SPEAKER: I welcome 15 CIT students from the adult migrant education program.

Questions without notice

Planning—land releases

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, at a recent housing industry forum, you were asked by a member of the press to say how many blocks of land were available for sale as of that day in the ACT. I have subsequently confirmed this question with the journalist. Your answer was 3,200 blocks. Minister, during the annual reports hearings in October, officials for the Chief Minister’s Department stated initially that there were no blocks for sale, which was then clarified by LDA officials, who said around 80 blocks were available. Minister, how do you reconcile your answer of 3,200 blocks being available with the answer from officials that only 80 blocks are available?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Seselja for the question. As he well knows—because he was sitting next to me when I gave the answer—I said that I did not know the number of blocks that were available at that time, but that the vision for the 2007-08 financial year was 3,200 blocks. I have answered this question before for Mr Seselja, and that is exactly what I said.

Mr Seselja: That’s not what you said.

MR BARR: I said to Mr Thistleton that, no, I could not tell him, but that the plan for this year was that 3,200 blocks were planned for release. I sought confirmation from a couple of officials who were sitting just about three metres across from me that that

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