Page 567 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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wonderfully, and the relevant parts of the ACT bureaucracy came up with some quick and innovative thinking. It was agreed that one of the outcomes would be an asbestos task force and that information coming from that task force would be used to finetune the legislation before it came into effect. It is interesting to note that European research has found that minority governments produce better health and economic outcomes than majoritarian governments—and here is an instance; this legislation is an example of that.

One of the practical adjustments in establishing the asbestos inspection, reporting and safety duties was to allow sellers to remain silent when concrete information about asbestos products in their properties is not known. That was because government took the view that an obligation to inspect all buildings for asbestos and produce a report could create more problems than it would address.

I would be interested to learn from the government if asbestos reports are being prepared but not furnished when properties are sold; if property owners are avoiding inspecting their properties because of the fear of onerous safety duties; and if the benefits to the education program, an important part of the asbestos regime, is still proving effective—

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.



MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.00): Mr Speaker, in the last couple of weeks I have spent considerable time in my electorate, specifically in the suburbs of Cook and Flynn, catching up with my constituents in those suburbs to try and gauge their views and their reaction to school closures in those suburbs. As you would know, Mr Speaker, the Flynn primary school closed at the end of 2006 and Cook primary school closed at the end of 2007. It is pretty safe to say that the level of discontent and dissatisfaction in the community has not died down, even in Flynn more than a year after the closure of that school. It is not just people who had children at the schools or who thought that they might send their children to those schools—it is a top-of-mind issue with every person that I spoke to in Flynn, and it is a top-of-mind issue with every person I spoke to in Cook.

The things that they report to me are that they are very unhappy about the so-called consultation process. They do not believe that the decisions made were based on the facts of what was happening in their suburbs. They have not been given a sufficient reason for why these schools closed. Both those schools had rising school populations. It is interesting to reflect on the fact that some of the children affected by the Cook school closure have gone to Aranda. Aranda had to take on demountable classrooms to accommodate the students that came from Cook. It is also interesting to reflect on the 1990s when there were school closures proposed in the ACT, and the fact that one of the schools proposed for closure along with Cook was Aranda, which was a very small school at the time. Now it is a school which is literally bursting at the seams.

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