Page 170 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008

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and more apparent. So the statutory processes will put government into a collaborative and creative investigation of alternatives to closing or amalgamating schools. And this is an important goal of the bill.

I do not think we yet know the long-term impact of the 2006 closures, but the new Kingsford Smith P-10 school already has a bit of a concerning impact. In the first instance, enrolments above year 7 have not come in. That is probably because most kids want to stay in their current high school, with their existing circle of friends, subject choices and associated arrangements. Year 7 enrolments at that school, of course, are fine, and there is undoubtedly a flow-on impact to nearby schools. I would be interested to know what the enrolment for competing year 7s are in nearby schools, both government and non-government, and what strategies have been put in place to ensure their survival. I am also interested to know how the forward planning is going for those primary schools in the shadow of Kingsford Smith.

Looking again at the impact of the 2020 plan, we can see that the impacts are still flowing through. Four new early childhood schools are to open next year. The impact on those schools’ communities has already been substantial, but what does the department plan to do if enrolments are too low? Similarly, what is the long-term plan for those school sites which no longer have schools but have kept their preschools? These are all questions that need to be guided by good legislation.

This bill would make a substantial improvement to the existing act but it can and should be substantially improved. We intend to do that work over the next few months and look forward to the support of other parties.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Government Agencies (Campaign Advertising) Bill 2008

Mr Seselja, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition (11.17): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I present a bill that is designed to put an end to the misuse of taxpayer money to run political advertising under the guise of government information. That this happens is clear and has been the subject of debates and promises on both sides of politics for some time. Few have managed to actually do anything concrete to address the problem. Today, in this reformed Assembly, the Canberra Liberals once again take the lead to do exactly that.

As I said, incumbent governments are notorious for using taxpayer money for campaign advertising purposes. It is not limited by jurisdiction or country or political persuasion. It is an insidious undermining of a fundamental, democratic principle: the level playing field.

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