Page 268 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 2008

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Mr Speaker, not only have we been successful in attracting a sufficient number of people in a very tight labour market to undertake this training, but we have also been successful in improving the economic activity in the territory. Unlike those opposite who profess one thing and then say another when it comes to the prison, we are serious not only about the benefits associated with the prisoners from providing our own correctional facility, but also about providing improved investment in the economy.

The $20 million that is associated with the running of both the remand centres and the payments to New South Wales—that is in 2003 dollars—will be translated into $20 million being spent here in the ACT economy. Mr Speaker, once again, that is a very important investment in the ACT economy supporting local jobs, supporting local shopkeepers, supporting local human resource companies, supporting local food companies. All of those companies that need to provide food—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, resume your seat, please. Members from both sides of the chamber are continuing conversations across the chamber. There continues to be interjections, which I will not tolerate. Mr Corbell.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This really does highlight the government’s commitment to providing a facility that we can be proud of, that we can take responsibility for and get the benefit from, not only in terms of its rehabilitative services, which is, of course, its most important objective, but also the side effects of investing in the local community through the economic activity that is generated. I would have thought that would be something that an opposition leader would be interested in—improved economic activity for the region and more jobs locally, especially lower paid jobs. These are not top-of-the-end jobs; these are lower paid jobs, but they are, nevertheless, important jobs. Where is his support for that? Where is his professed interest in the families of those correctional officers who will be employed as a result of the new prison? Where is his professed interest in the support for those disadvantaged people who will take—

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.


MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I refer to your answer yesterday regarding school closures. In it you referred to Mr Pratt’s press release of 11 August 2004 as evidence that Ms Gallagher had been up front on the issue of school closures when she was the minister for education. Are you aware that the next day, on 12 August, a spokesperson for Ms Gallagher categorically ruled out any school closures in the next term of the government, in response to Mr Pratt’s statement? This statement, Chief Minister, has never been repudiated.

In addition, Ms Gallagher on 13 October, three days before the 2004 election, issued a press statement claiming that it was in fact the Liberal Party’s agenda to close schools. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table Ms Gallagher’s press statement of 13 October 2004 headed “25 jobs to go and schools to close: Libs costings tell the story”.

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