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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 521 ..

That is why the government is investing in new early childhood schools that will commence in 2009. That is why we are providing a range of additional supports through public education, through our new curriculum framework and through a number of other key initiatives, working in partnership with the commonwealth government, particularly in relation to the establishment of trade training centres in our senior secondary schools. We continue to provide resources where they are needed within both our public education system and our TAFE system, CIT.

This stands in contrast to the position of those opposite. I noted with interest that a few weeks back the independent schools association put out a call for parties to release policies on education—in the spirit of welcoming the fact that the new spokesperson on education, the opposition leader, did in fact deign to put out a policy. He has; he has put one out. The only problem is that it was a direct copy of the policy that I released 12 months earlier in relation to student welfare. With great fanfare, Mr Seselja said, “Oh, there should be a forum called on community safety and safety in schools.” The problem for Mr Seselja is that if he had bothered to do even a modicum of research he would have noted that such a forum was held last year, and a safe schools task force was established.

Mrs Dunne: And that really worked, didn’t it? How many times were the police called out?

Mr Pratt: And look where that got us, Andrew.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I think you are straying a little too far.

MR BARR: Mr Speaker, the question was about how education and skills helped benefit the ACT economy.

Mrs Burke: How does the opposition policy help?

MR BARR: I am talking specifically around this and safe education environments. Although those opposite do not want to hear it, the only policy that we see from the Leader of the Opposition—

MR SPEAKER: Resume your seat, please.

Balloon Aloft

MR SMYTH: My question is to the minister for tourism. Minister, on 19 February, you announced that Balloon Aloft would be operating a balloon spectacular in April this year, with funding of $70,000 representing “best value for money for ACT taxpayers”. You confirmed this arrangement at the hearing of the public accounts committee on 28 February this year. Yesterday, however, minister, you announced here in the Assembly that Balloon Aloft would only receive $10,000 as a fee for service for this event. Minister, when did you change your mind, and why did you change your mind, about how the balloon event would be managed and decide that the management of the event would be brought “in house”?

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