Page 972 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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Ministerial arrangements

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage): The Attorney-General, Mr Corbell, unfortunately is unable to attend question time today. He regrets that. I stand ready to seek to answer any questions that anybody may have had of Mr Corbell today. I apologise, as does Mr Corbell, for his absence this afternoon.

Questions without notice


MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Given that all parties have committed to a more collaborative approach in this Assembly, can the minister explain to the Assembly why he did not brief members of the Assembly on proposed changes to the planning regulations in relation to school upgrades on the same day that he announced them in the media?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. It did, of course, come up as a matter of some discussion in relation to the briefing that I held today with all parties on the government’s response to the commonwealth government’s significant investment in ACT schools.

It is worth advising the Assembly of some of the time lines that I have been associated with in regard to this particular commonwealth program. The stimulus package only passed the Senate 20 days ago. I note the contribution of the Greens party and I thank them for their assistance in ensuring that the stimulus package did pass the commonwealth Senate. It means that the ACT is in a position potentially to benefit, to the tune, in the education sector, of up to $230 million from that investment.

I attended a briefing that the commonwealth government provided in relation to the package 19 days ago. That briefing was provided by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer. It was a useful briefing. Following that process—and I understand that there was an Assembly sitting week that then intervened—I then held a series of briefings and sought information from key stakeholders, most particularly ACT schools in the government, Catholic and independent sectors, to seek their advice in relation to the sorts of measures and assistance they believed they needed to meet the commonwealth’s requirements in order to be successful in achieving funding under this program.

The detailed guidelines in relation to the building the education revolution program were made available to the territory government yesterday. Following the meeting with education stakeholders last Thursday, I announced the government’s intention to embrace the views that were put forward by the school sectors in terms of their needs to meet this commonwealth package and the requirements therein, and indicated that the government would seek to introduce planning regulations into this place in order to ensure that schools were able to meet those guidelines. At that time, both the

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