Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 February 2009) . . Page.. 857 ..
John Miller of the Master Builders Association told ABC radio yesterday:
The Government’s hell bent on making sure that we can actually get this work rolling out the door.
He went on to say:
We support the Government, we support moves to make sure that we’re in a position to actually act on it, and we don’t have to hand back money to the Commonwealth that otherwise could be spent in the territory.”
David Garrett of the ACT Block Grant Authority noted the tight deadlines associated with this funding and said that he is pleased planning regulations will be changed to expedite applications.
Whilst the overwhelming majority of expert and community opinion backs this investment in our schools and our plans to secure this investment, it appears that the opposition parties in this chamber do not. The ACT Liberals have flip flopped on this package, claiming part of it as their own on 3 February and then rejecting it on 5 February. I am concerned that the ACT Greens appear to have split from their federal counterparts, who voted in support of the stimulus package, and that last Friday both opposition parties, the Liberals and the Greens, made it clear they would oppose this plan, and they have done so without the benefit of a briefing. My office has contacted the offices of both the Leader of the Opposition—
Mr Seselja: Today, just before question time.
MR BARR: today, to arrange for a briefing tomorrow.
Opposition members interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Order! I cannot hear the minister.
MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We know the standing position of the Liberal Party in relation to this. They oppose this stimulus package and this investment in schools at the federal level. The now shadow Treasurer described the amount of money being spent on schools as “a ridiculous amount”. The ACT Liberals at no point in this debate have come clean and indicated whether they support or oppose the investment in our schools. They are looking to find a million process arguments not to answer the substantive question that they still have not done, either through the shadow minister or the Leader of the Opposition, who has seemingly taken responsibility for education matters in this particular education debate off his shadow minister, who has made no public statement. They are yet to indicate a position. The Greens, on the other hand, have supported the package at a federal level but seem determined at this stage not to, although I hope that some more detailed briefing on what is proposed will ensure their support and that of the opposition.
The challenge I set to the opposition parties is that, if they want to oppose this, they should front up to every school community in this territory and explain why it is that