Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2364 ..
Carolyn Harkness, from the Canberra Preschool Society, said:
6 May 2008 marks the date when the ACT Government took deliberate steps to secure the territory’s proven track-record in designing innovative, responsive, collaborative and family-focused early-years programs.
The 2008 ACT Government Budget has recognised the value of their investment into our children’s early years.
I thank all of those organisations for their constructive comments on the budget. I look forward to a continuing strong relationship with all of the education stakeholders. There is a lot to achieve in education in the years ahead. I thank members for the very positive contribution that they have made to this debate.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.59 am): I want to add a couple of comments. One is in relation to some answers we received to some questions on notice, particularly in relation to television advertisements. There were some interesting answers. We asked a number of questions on the campaign in relation to public education. It turns out that the campaign cost about $53,000 for a week’s worth of advertising. But when we asked when the department signed off or authorised it to go ahead, we heard it was on Tuesday, 13 May 2008, which was a week after the budget. It was booked, I understand, on the very same day and then filmed and produced just a few days later before it was rushed to air.
I am not quite sure how this process was handled internally. We understand from the answers to the questions on notice that there was liaison with the minister’s office. Whether it was a call from the minister’s office which prompted the advertising campaign, perhaps the minister can get up and answer that. Whether it was initiated out of the department or whether it was actually initiated out of the minister’s office, we would be interested to know.
But it is curious that an advertising campaign was put together so quickly to advertise in Public Education Week. They would have known that Public Education Week was coming up for some time and you would think that they would not have just, in a few days, decided that there might be some political benefit. And we can only speculate on what the motivation was. It was $53,000, basically organised in just a few days, which ran in Public Education Week.
You would think that, when we do spend taxpayers’ money to promote the work of the government, we would see perhaps a more rigorous process rather than such a rushed process. And this is becoming commonplace. As I have highlighted particularly in relation to the way in which the decision was put together to close schools, we know that that was an extraordinarily rushed process. This is becoming symptomatic of the government.
The other thing I would like to briefly comment on is some of the capital overruns or rollovers in relation to the education and training budget. We have heard from the Chief Minister, again today and in recent times, the reasons for some of these rollovers. Rollovers happen all the time, and it is issues like the weather and it is